4 out of my 5 children can be left with in a social situation that I or Big T are not attending (for example: school, childcare or AWANAS) and I know that they will be on their best behavior. I know that they will be as sweet as can be, and I can trust that they will be respectful and obedient at all times to the adults that are in charge.
1 of my children is throwing me some curve balls. When I am at home with this child, they have very age appropriate typical childlike behavior, there are some fits and acting out, but for the most part this child is well behaved and obedient. It is the RARE day where this child is in a bad mood for the whole day, and usually can be reasoned with as to why it is important to be respectful and obedient.
In the last month this child has been asked to not return to some activities because of their behavior. It wasn’t until then that Big T and I realized we’ve just assumed that this child was like the rest of them and knew that when Mom and Dad aren’t there, they still need to treat the other adults with respect. Recently I was asked to attend a conference with the guidance counselor, teacher and principle of the school to discuss this child, and I ended up bawling my eyes out. I don’t know what to do.
You see this child was the one not born of my womb. There are so many hurts that he carries with him, and he has learned at a very young age that not all adults are trustworthy, nor worthy of respect. For him respect is earned, it isn’t a right just because you are “in charge” of him. And if he doesn’t get a good, warm, fuzzy feeling from you…well, watch out. He will be hell bent on making sure you know he doesn’t like you.
I have so easily forgotten the child that we were given back in November. The one who didn’t trust me, and wasn’t sure if he was going to like these new adults that are in his life. These adults say that they will be there “forever,” but he’s heard that before. He’s heard it all before, and everyone that says that they love him and care for him; they always either hurt him or end up leaving.
This child has some brokenness. That doesn’t excuse any of his behavior. It’s just not okay to throw your pencil at a teacher, or chuck counting bears across the room because you are done with math. His brokenness makes me tenderer towards how to deal with these situations. I tend to show him more grace that I would any of the other children, and we “start over” more often. Yet, there comes a point when he’s been naughty all day at school, and then comes home continues in the naughtiness that I have to do something about it.
So I take away privileges. I remove toys. I talk with him about his behavior. And I pray.
Goodness, how I pray.
God has shown me through this boy how fickle I am towards God. I have a total Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. There are times when I am completely devoted to Christ, and other times when I turn and want to do things my own way. God give me unimaginable amounts of grace …but at some points, He allows the natural consequences to occur. And they hurt, just like a loss of privilege, or remove of the things I love.
I honestly don’t know what I am going to do with this child. I am at a loss at the moment. It’s only 4:30pm and he’s already taken me past the point of allowing him to be around any of the other children, and lost being able to go to a fun activity tonight. It makes me sad for him.
I want him to see that obedience always leads to better things, but all he can see is that it feels good to do what he wants in *that* moment.
Wow, I can be a lot like a 5 year old.