I’m grateful that we are back to the monthly Hearts at Home Blog Hop today. For October: Tell us about that time at the playground when that thing happened.
Anytime we are in a group situation, I tend to talk to the adults and expect my children to play with their friends. At this outing, Nikelle was walking with her friends as I talked with their mom. The walk was so nice. The weather was beautiful. Everything went smoothly. Until the end of the scavenger hunt the librarian organized for the kids.
My daughter and her friends all found the books that were listed and turned in proof for their prize. (The prizes were the usual use-a-couple-times-and-throw-away kind of junk we so often acquire.) As my daughter chose her item I made sure it was what she wanted. Being that the prize was a whistle or something (I really don’t remember what the item was); I knew there would be no option of changing our minds later. Assuring me that this was her desired prize, we walked away.
As her friends met up with us to walk the forest preserve path back to our vehicles, Nikelle noticed their prize choices and inquired as to changing her mind. Informing her that we already had this discussion, my daughter began to throw a fit. It wasn’t a throw-myself-on-the-ground, kicking and screaming kind of fit but there was pouting and stomping involved. The part that disappointed me the most was the way she took it out on her friends. As we walked back to the car, I witnessed her friends attempting to catch up with her to walk together and make conversation. I was in disbelief as I watched my sweet little girl run from them to continue her pity party.
Getting into the van, I prayed for the right response with my daughter. The root of the matter was that she had an ungrateful heart. She didn’t appreciate the walk with her mom, with her friends, or the kind gesture by the library to offer prizes. This was an issue of character and one that saddened my mother’s heart.
Pulling away, I noticed some of God’s natural consequences for my daughter’s behavior and pointed them out to her. Her friends that she was running away from on the walk were now rolling down a hill, laughing and extending their time of fun. As she saw them, she made the request to join them. I informed her that because of her behavior, she would not be participating in their fun.
When we got home, I sent my daughter to her room to think about the situation. She was instructed to write a list of 10 or 20 things she was thankful for (I don’t recall the exact number). I then went to my husband and cried about our imperfect daughter. The concern was that we were raising ungrateful children. What I recall more than anything that day was the way my daughter came down with a list of thanksgiving exceeding the number required of her. This discipline was effective and I believe came because I asked God for wisdom in handling the situation.
I don’t recall if my heartbreak over the situation had anything to do with a fear of reflection of myself. However, I realize that every action in my children should draw my attention back to me. Not because my children are a reflection of me to others. Rather, my children are a reflection of my character. If I disapprove of their behavior, it is time to examine my own. What flaws do you witness your children reflecting back at you?