Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So as I was writing that last post....

I had a call from the kids' school.

Liam has bitten a kid in his class because she "was in his personal space" (that's the reason he managed to come up with when the deputy principal asked him why he did it).

So yes, I am definitely praying for wisdom now. And also that I will be able to control my anger when I have to sort this out after school. Having been through a couple of these kinds of situations previously, I've found that the way I react to them works a bit like a grieving process.

My initial response is always to feel shocked and upset and also pretty embarrassed. My thought process goes something like this. I've taught my kids better than that. They know it's the wrong thing to do. There is never any excuse for that behaviour. What will the other parent think of him/me? (I don't think the school tells them who the biter is, but I'm sure their child will pass the information on). What will the teachers/principal think of me?

When the stage of embarrassment and feeling upset settles down (usually about the time the culprit arrives home from school), I then move into an anger stage. I feel really cranky. I shout (quite a lot...). I don't want to hear about what the other kid did, I just want you to behave yourself. How dare you do that? etc etc

And then I feel guilty. Has this behaviour started happening because I've recently gone back to work? Am I too busy doing other stuff to find the time to look at my own kids' issues? Have I not paid him enough positive attention lately?

And then I have to think of a consequence for all this. He's already had a few special things removed this week. We're running out of options.

I know that once I calm down (probably a day or two away, hopefully tomorrow though), then I will be able to think about it a bit more reasonably. There was another kid in Liam's class biting people this week. Not the smartest move to copy this behaviour but at least I know that other kids have done it. I wish my kids wouldn't do these things but we all do stupid things and so Chris and I need to sit him down and have the talk (again) about what appropriate behaviour choices are. As parents, we need to keep praying that over time, he will choose more appropriate responses when someone gets in his way.

I think though that the way I react in these kinds of situations has a lot to do with how people might perceive me (as a person or as a parent). Which is in its own way as sinful as the behaviour that initiated it. It's not important what other people think. What God thinks is the most important thing, but that isn't what comes to my mind first up. It's always about what people might think of ME, which is of course a very selfish attitude to have. And so as a consequence, I am also being sinful.

So then I was thinking that maybe we need to go through a similar grief process about our own sins more often, particularly with those more insidious sins that outsiders don't see. I don't know about other people, but I find it's only when my sin is exposed and I am perceived for who I really am that I feel bad/guilty or upset about it and I might actually change something about the way I do things. It's easy to ignore the "little sins" and pretend they didn't happen.

Sigh. A calm and easy life seems a long way away right now. Praying for strength, wisdom and that I will feel convicted enough by my own sins to confess them and actually change my behaviour. Maybe it's just me, but I find that it's way too easy to skip over the confession part when I pray....

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