Lab Coats and Baby Shoes
Read: “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 (MSG)
Reflect: I read an internet meme the other day that said, “I love it when I find myself yelling, ‘STOP YELLING!’ at my kids. That’s how I teach them irony.” It’s funny, but true. Sadly, I did it just this morning. My preschooler snatched a book away from his younger brother, and without thinking I grabbed it away from him, and said, “You can’t just grab things away from people!” Sometimes, I really miss the mark.
As we mature we generally learn what is appropriate behavior in social situations, but kids have little to no sense of this. As a result, they are constantly testing things out like little scientists experimenting with a hypothesis. They will push buttons that you didn’t even realize you had simply because they are trying to piece together how they should interact with the world.
We adults often think our kids are trying to make us angry, when in reality they are just looking for guidance and understanding. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’re trying to understand something, and the person who has the knowledge you need decides to yell at you for not understanding. Would you respond well, or would you shut down emotionally and physically? We are all “newborns” in our spiritual journeys. Let us show grace to others, just as God’s unfailing grace is constantly shown to us.
React: Think about the people in your life who “press your buttons”. Imagine them wearing a scientist’s lab coat, attempting to test out a social experiment that doesn’t make sense to them. Treat them with kindness and forgiveness.
Pray: God, open the eyes of my heart. Help me see others the same way that you see me. Awaken in me a sense of compassion, a kindness that reaches out, towards all people. Amen.