She was still clutching her lovey. Her long ginger curls were tangled and falling around the shoulders of her nightgown as she quietly entered the room.
Her younger brother, already involved in play, looked up from his cars and loudly exclaimed “Good morning!” She rolled her eyes and kept walking.
Mom was nearby and in a flash she was there, challenging the five year old to find kindness in her heart and respond appropriately to her brother’s greeting.
An epic stand-off ensued. Allowed some time to sit nearby and choose a change of heart, she was not budging.
But Momma was not backing down either.
After a few tears and a stretch of quiet time in her room, she returned and managed to speak to her brother with respect (if not enthusiasm). Momma hugged her briefly and asked what she’d like for breakfast. It was a lesson and it was done.
The stubborn momma is my daughter.
Honestly, I busied myself nearby as I mentally composed a short list of compelling reasons to justify my granddaughter’s annoyance with her autistic brother. It’s honest to say that he is not always easy to deal with. I was privately tempted to defend her response.
But if not at home, where? Where will she learn compassion if not by example and through practice in the safety of her family? Where will she learn to treat outsiders well if she hasn’t learned at home with the ones she loves?
If not now, when? She is most teachable in these formative years.
If not by the teaching of her mother, who? Her momma loves her fiercely, and is her first and best mentor.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands
and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them
when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
It would have been easy in the newness of the day to ignore the roll of those blue eyes. There was breakfast and two babies to feed and her coffee was cold again.
But Momma knows…
- At age 5 her little girl is old enough to know that kindness is a choice.
- If her daughter doesn’t exercise extending kindness at home, she will struggle with being kind out in the world. She wants her little girl to be the one to say “Come play with me!” to the lonely or the new child in class.
- There are even times when love is a choice.
This molding of hearts and pointing tiny faces to Jesus is exhausting and no one would have found fault with the omission of consequences just this once.
But momma knows that the hard work is best done early; early in life and when possible, early in the day.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
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