Following this less-than-pleasant experience, I wanted nothing more to vent and hopefully garner a little sympathy from a fellow mom or my husband. What an, "Oh, blurg" sort of story to share!
But one look at the face of my little person stopped me in my tracks. Those eyes that said, "Sorry, Mommy", also said, "I'm so ashamed." That sweet turned-down mouth silently begged me to guard against any further embarrassment. The word, "respect" fluttered in my mind.
I patted my kiddo's back, smooched a forehead and decided to keep my mouth shut.
This was an opportunity to show my child respect and to extend an extra dollop of grace. A teachable moment for both of us.
I could readily identify with the the fear and dread that accompany these sorts of situations. I, too, have found myself in uncomfortable circumstances. Moments when I wished the earth would open wide and swallow me whole. Sometimes there was someone there to shield me from that plight while other times someone else's hurtful words heaped coals of shame on my head.
The relief was palatable when my little friend realized that the predicament was over. There would be no more discussion, no whispered giggles, no head-shaking or tsking, no "did you hear?" or "can you believe?", no grumbling and no additional humiliation. Yes, we had learned a lesson, but, no, we would not be scarred by it.
Our hearts are delicate creations. Within them we carry both the memories of joy and the wounds of shame. And as a mom, I have the power to either guard my child's heart and instill a sense of security or to inflict more pain with my words and actions.
And it all seems to boil down to respect - treating others as you would like to be treated.
I don't want to be teased about my short-comings. I don't want my mistakes to be the subject of someone else's conversation. I don't want to be laughed at or laughed about.
And neither do my kids.
The next time one of my kids pulls a doozy (which they will!), I hope Jesus will bring this episode freshly to my mind. And I hope I'll remember to keep my mouth shut and shower them in love and respect instead.
"Father, grant that my children may
show proper respect to everyone,
as Your Word commands."
1 Peter 2:17