Every afternoon, around 4 o’clock, my youngest daughter and I go outside to wait for my oldest daughter’s school bus. One day, as Quinn and I were waiting, a young man came walking down the sidewalk. An ear to ear grin came across Quinn’s face and she gave him a cheerful wave. He saw her, rolled his eyes, didn’t wave, and kept walking.
I’m not sure why, but this just filled me with rage. What a punk. What’s he thinking? He’s too cool to wave to my daughter? Pfft. My daughter’s too cool for you!
Quinn is my destructive child. She draws on walls and spills things, but she’s a total sweetheart. She’s still at the beautiful age where she hasn’t quite figured out how to be totally mean yet. I’ve grown accustom to folks we see in public always being kind to her. When we go to the bank, the post office, the grocery store, whatever; everyone just can’t get enough of Quinn. So, what was this guy’s deal?
I understand that not everyone likes kids. To be more specific, not everyone is going to like my kids. I think my kids are the best kids in the whole wide world, but the general public may not always agree. I get it. But, why didn’t you wave to my baby? This upset her and I’m just trying to figure out why this guy wouldn’t wave to my child.
I’ve been thinking about this for weeks. I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. What bothered me is realizing that I can’t force others to be kind of my children. The man who rolled his eyes as Quinn was just a reminder. Our children are born in an unkind, unloving, and sinful world. As parents, we have to be prepared for that.
In most schools, there’s so much talk about bullying. Why? From a young age, children delight in being cruel to other children. This isn’t a new craze with the kids of today; this has been going on for a very long time. We tend to view our own children as beautifully innocent, merely the victims of the pain inflicted by others. But, our children sin too.
Yes, it upset me to see someone being unkind and rude to my 3-year-old. It’s easy to get mad and view her as an innocent victim of some punk kid’s annoyance and pomp. However, I’ve got to prepare myself, as a mother, for the many sins that will be committed against my children. I also have to be ready for the sins my children will commit.
We teach our children about Noah’s Ark and the Miracles of Jesus. But, we don’t teach them about sin. I don’t mean to imply its a sin to refuse to wave to a child, but Quinn has had people in her life sin against her already. Sometimes, her sister is hurtful and even violent towards her. Sometimes, her father and I aren’t very patient and kind with her. Sometimes, the adults in her life lie to her…because it’s easier.
My 3-year-old Quinn has sinned herself, too. I’ve caught her telling lies because she realized very quickly that it’ll get her out of trouble. I’ve seen her strike her playmates. She is not always gentle with her sister. And Lord knows, she does not always honor her father and me.
This is a hard reality to face, but our children aren’t always as innocent as we think. The sinful nature we are all born with manifests very quickly. It’s powerful and it’s dangerous, yet many of us don’t talk to our kids about denying themselves and following Christ. Is it so crazy to go beyond simply Bible stories and actually talk to kids about spiritual warfare? Maybe not with a 3 year old? But when? Let me assure you that the enemy will not show your children mercy simply because they’re children. As a matter of fact, historically, the enemy hates children. (More on that another day.) But, the enemy will tempt your children and sometimes, they’ll give into that temptation.
It’s hard to watch our children experience the effects of a sinful world. It’s even harder to watch them succumb to their own sinful nature. So, perhaps, we should start teaching them about sin and self-denial. Perhaps that is, in fact, part of training them in righteousness.
Let me know your thoughts. Take care and God bless.
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