Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's a fine line

I love the times when I'm able to look at current areas of my life with enough perspective to see and appreciate the lessons that God is putting in front of us.
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As is usually the case, our lessons this week are coming via one of our boys. Surprise, surprise!
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I was approached at church on Wednesday by a mom very concerned with a playground incident involving Colton and her daughter. At first, as she was describing the incident, I had no trouble imagining Colton at the scene of the crime in the manner indicated. Though I didn't condone his actions, they didn't surprise me, either.
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When she went on to talk about him pushing her daughter, though, my mommy radar went up a bit.
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We have, since the boys were very young, instilled in them at every opportunity that "Messer boys don't hit girls". Not when provoked verbally. Not when provoked physically. Messer boys do not hit girls.
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So, my mommy radar went up, and I found myself thinking - "This just doesn't sound like Colton."
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Here's where the lesson part comes in.
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I squelched it. I pushed my mommy radar down until I could feel the anger of the other mommy, and I had summoned my own anger at my son for doing something he knew was very wrong. For the whole 20 minute ride home from church, I talked very little to the boys, and allowed that anger to bubble and boil.
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And when we got home, I quickly called both Matt and Colton into the living room to address the situation.
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I ask Colton what happened on the playground. I ask if he did anything wrong.
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He says he doesn't want to talk about it.
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"Ha!" I thought, "further proof of his apparent guilt."
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It took some pretty serious interrogation techniques on Matt's part (and approximately 20 minutes) to start to reveal Colton's side of the story.
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He was crying. He felt guilty. He knew he was in trouble.
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But, at the end of the tears, the questions, the hugging, the sobbing, I finally started to realize something. My son felt terrible - but not for the reasons indicated by the other side of the story.
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He felt terrible for calling a little girl what he thought was a very mean name (a fool), and for kicking her soccer ball away so she would get out of the way of him and his friend trying to play Star Wars.
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And the mommy radar that I had squelched rose back up.
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I called a teacher at the school, who is the mommy of one of the other students present at the incident, to verify Colton's story.
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He was telling the truth.
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Because of my staunch determination to not be "That Mom" who thinks her kid does no wrong, I missed a perfect opportunity to advocate for my child.
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I realize that Colton doesn't know the difference at this point. Because he knows he did something wrong, and he doesn't know that my anger was directed more at something he didn't do at all.
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But I know the difference.
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I know that God has given me these two boys only for a short while. I am charged, along with a wonderful and loving husband, with raising them to be Godly young men. I am their advocate. Sometimes, we will be their only advocates.
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There will be days ahead when they will attempt (and sometimes succeed) to deceive us regarding their less-than-desirable actions. It will be our job to search out the truth. To squelch the automatic desire to believe that our children can do no wrong.
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And, there will be times when the other side of the story goes so against what we know of our sons' character, that we will be called to step up and advocate for our boys.
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It's a fine line.
I pray the Lord helps me find the right balance, each and every time. And, I am thankful for this fairly innocuous example to teach me that I need to be aware of my role as my son's advocate.

1 comment:

tina said...

I hope you'll be continuing to blog more in 2012, Heather. I missed reading your insights. I will never forget the "reclaimed flat surfaces" story. I loved that one.

Great post. :)