Saturday, March 23, 2013

Compassion, Part 1

Compassion comes easily sometimes. Little one gets knocked down, it’s easy to take her into my arms and give comfort. Unkind words from a peer hurt one of my children and I provide a refuge for healing.

That compassion is not hard.

The hard compassion comes in different circumstances.

Imagine with me how our day is going. I’ve given my whole day over to my children up to this point- I’ve served two meals, overseen school, & other activities. We’ve read together. We’ve had our quiet period of the early afternoon. The smallest ones are still napping and I’ve sent the older ones out to the backyard. I’ve settled back for what I feel is a much deserved "break" (I put that in quotes because no Momma at home with her children ever really gets a break. We are constantly on call. Even from the bathroom). Maybe I’ll read for a few minutes or check e-mail, blog...

And then is happens. Not five minutes into my “break” someone comes charging back into the house (our doors are VERY loud when they open and close). The charging child may be screaming, crying or they may have their head turned back to make sure whoever is still outside hears whatever choice words they have to direct back at them. There is no consideration as to what is going on inside the house. My peaceful time is shattered. Now one or more little ones may wake up. “Break time” over.

And I’m supposed to show compassion.

Maybe the child is irritated at a sibling. Maybe another child provoked the response with words or actions. (It has happened even as I’m writing this. Something about a mud-ball.)

Maybe someone is hurt. Maybe they were playing that game they came up with who-knows-how that they call “blind-tag” and someone ran into someone else or into the swing-set. There seems to be no end to the ridiculous things they come up with to do both inside & outside that can result in some injury-emotional &/or physical, that then requires a trip wailing to momma. Sometimes I think they treat me as their magic genie, thinking that my main purpose in life is to drop everything and fix whatever is going on with them.

I may be making it [the momma-genie phenomena] worse as I sometimes do jump right to “let’s fix this” just so we can get through this quickly and move on to other things. I’m a busy lady after all. I’m always doing something and the constant interruptions get pretty aggravating. It’s very tempting to want to stop whatever is happening in it’s tracks, hand out a quick fix and move on.

But I need to be careful. If I respond with a sigh or irritation when my children come to me with what I feel is an unnecessary reaction to a non-problem, and if I stop them before they can pour out their hearts to me, telling me all about the injustice that has been done to them-if I respond with crossed arms and a frown too many times, will they keep coming to me?

How many times will it take for me to wave them off for them to get the message that their problem is not significant and even irritating to me? How many instances of me handing out a quick-fix to their problem without first hearing them out will it take for them to decide Momma doesn’t want to listen to them, all Momma cares about is fixing the problem fast so she can get back to whatever it is that Momma is doing at the moment?

It’s not an issue now (I know because they keep treating me like their mommy genie), but I’ve got to look forward. If they think I don’t want to hear about their problems & what they have to say (no matter how insignificant, how irritating, how bad their timing) when will they stop coming to me to talk? When will they turn to their peers instead?

I don’t want to hear “If it’s not important to you than never mind” from my child.

You know how women often want their husbands to just listen without trying to “fix” the problem? I’m a bit astounded to realize I do this very thing to my children.

They just want me to listen. And they want me to listen a lot. A big part of parenting is teaching, training and leading to learn. But if I’m not willing to listen, no matter how inconvenient, then slowly but surely I think I’ll lose “the right” in their minds to do that teaching & training.

By Josiah

That’s why I must be compassionate. Even if it’s over the millionth Lego war. Even if it’s about whose turn it is to do whatever it is they are doing. Even if it’s about what I call “the ailment of the night” that my child gets up to complain about every night  when it’s supposed to be my time to relax. ---Maybe if I was showing more compassion and listening more during the day then that wouldn’t happen so often.      

Continue to Part 2 (the better part)... 

Linking up to Missional Woman


  1. Such a good post! I actually just did this tonight with my daughter. I was having my "me" time this evening and she came downstairs wanting a drink. I knew she already had one and didn't want the hassle of getting another cup, going to fill it up, etc. I told her to go upstairs, she cried and I was irritated and told her to just go. After a minute or two of reflection I looked at things from her perspective. I brought her cup to her upstairs and she was thrilled. She hugged me and told me she loved me. It wasn't because I spoiled her and let her get her way; but I showed her compassion for how she was feeling. I read something once that said if we don't listen to the small things our children tell us now they won't come to us with big things when they're older. :-) Thanks for sharing this! I'm right there with you.

    1. Thank you Faith:) I don't even know how many times I've collapsed on the couch after getting everyone settled only to have to get right back up. When we do get back up-and when we do it without a heavy sigh-we show love don't we? It's hard to remember, but so important.


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