Thus far we’ve covered this topic from several angles.
We’ve looked at how to…
Change the Situation
Change the Sizzler
Change the Offending Adult
What could be left?
How about. . .
Changes in Ourselves ???
I can hear you now.
Excuse me? What do I have to do with any of this? Isn’t this all about the behavior of others?
Well, yes. And, well…no.
It’s also about grace.
Being gracious in the face of well-meaning or sometimes not-so-well meaning comments.
And why, you might ask, should we extend graciousness to people who’ve been far less than gracious to us in the first place?
Well…I don’t know about you, but I have on more than one occasion been the supplier of some of those less-than-gracious remarks
TO MY OWN SIZZLER!!!
The very thing I’m quite happy to accuse others of doing to my child, I have been more than happy to do, once or twice, myself. In fact I once said that it would probably be good for me to send my homeschooled Sizzler off to public school where at least SOMEONE is likely to be civil to him.
I need look no further back in the rear view mirror than this past Thanksgiving. My son was giving me a hard time on something (why is it I can never remember exactly what we were arguing about?) and I actually uttered the words,
“Son, just for today, could you please be nicer than you really are?”
What was THAT!!!
I would have had a hissy fit if any other person had said such a thing to my son!
How dare they! Such an inappropriate remark! Such thoughtlessness. Such negativity. What is their problem?
And yet…there it was.
And once again, there I was…asking my son’s forgiveness for his mother’s too-quick-to-be-kind tongue.
So for me, the first part in this graciousness deal comes in realizing that I too can be the provider of some of the very same kinds of comments that I find so offensive in others.
I understand how my son might drive people a little bonkers.
He really can talk a lot.
He really can say something inappropriate (although I can’t imagine where he would get this from)
He really can drive a point into the ground to the extent that it can give everyone a migraine.
So if you take someone who does NOT have a Sizzler themselves,
who does NOT have experience with all of the wonderful pluses that come with these Sizzlers,
who may themselves need more rigid order in their lives than typically accompanies a Sizzler
and who does not have a deep and forgiving well of love for this child,
then it shouldn’t surprise us that they might come away with an “irkable” spirit (my new favorite word).
I know that when I am out of my element, I too can say something inappropriate because I just don’t have a good experience base to say something appropriate and meaningful and empathetic and understanding and helpful.
I could be ( and most likely am) the one saying something insensitive.
So I’ve grown a bit cynical at my own highly offended reactions to others. There’s a little bit too much mea culpa to go around.
Secondly, it is worth developing this graciousness because it takes away much of the power of the offender to impact your child.
Your child will see your reactions.
And later when you’ve got your beloved Sizzler alone, let him or her know what goes with your graciousness.
That this offending person, through no fault of their own, doesn’t “get it” and can’t “get it” and thus, we can smile and be kind, because their comments don’t define us.
That this person needs things to go a certain way, that they need a familiar set of responses from people. And while that is common and not necessarily a fault, it also limits their ability to enjoy the unusual, the fresh, the different. We can even go so far as to allow ourselves to feel sympathy for people so unable to see “out of the box”.
That we are each different in different ways. And being a bit misunderstood is something most trailblazers are accustomed to.
That one day, we will probably say something that shows how out of touch we are with a certain topic, and we can only hope that someone will apply as much graciousness to us as we can now show to this misinformed commenter.
Teach your child the powerful lesson that we can smile, be kind and still FULLY disagree with the conclusion.
Let him know that how he defines himself comes through how well he works with the gifts he has been given.
And by how very much he is loved and valued by you.