For a week, the shoe was missing. I had asked my daughter where it was. She said she didn’t know and I moved on. No big deal. I can replace the shoe. She is my more responsible daughter, not like her to lose or misplace something, it’s fine.
Then a week later, it turns up in her dance bag. Yay! “Wonder how it got in there”, I say and my daughter burst into tears.
Let’s back up… a month before this her sister had lost a tennis shoe. And I may have overreacted… ok I did overreact but this daughter is careless with her things. She throws things, leaves things places. It drives me crazy! So I yelled and made her feel guilty when her tennis shoe went missing. In the moment, I felt fine about my response. She needed to feel guilty, she needed to be more responsible. And my loud and reactive response was going to get her to behave the way I wanted (sense the sarcasm).
So now here we are a month later and my other daughter is in tears. She knew her friend had been playing with her shoe as they got ready for dance but wasn’t sure where it had ended up and didn’t want me to be upset with her. So she didn’t tell me. She had been feeling bad about it all week.
We had a great conversation. We talked about why it is important to always tell the truth and that we don’t keep secrets from each other. We talked about why we feel that way when we don’t tell the truth. And I apologized for the way I had responded a month ago to her sister. (Side note: I did go apologize to that daughter too.)
This was a big moment for my daughters and me. They needed to know they can trust me. They can trust that I love them even when they mess up. Even when they don’t tell the truth. Even if they had purposefully thrown their shoes away. They need to know that my love is not based on behavior. THE RELATIONSHIP IS MORE IMPORTANT. Because when the big mess ups come in life they need to know I can be trusted to help through the mess.
And I need to choose differently next time. I WANT to choose differently next time. I want to respond and not react. I want to earn their trust and respect.
Recently someone said to me, “How beautiful would it be if when our kids messed up, they rushed into our arms to help them. They could share their failures knowing we love them so much we want nothing more than to help them work through them.”
In other words to trust me more than they fear the consequences. Please hear me, I am not saying there shouldn’t be consequences. Maybe I won’t buy a new pair shoes right away or they have to help pay for them. Or maybe I will buy them a new pair that moment because the relationship is more important than the lost shoes! MY heart is always for them and my response to them needs to reflect my heart.
So…I need to take a chill pill. I need to let God, who is peace and love, share His LIFE through me.
My kids are going to make mistakes (a lot of mistakes) and my response to them matters. Big and small mistakes, on purpose or accidents, how I respond matters.
Good news! I have Jesus living inside me! So I have all the patience, all the discernment, all the love living inside me. May I live out of this truth. And may you too!