Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 1 Peter 3:8
It was bound to happen again eventually. We just didn’t think it would happen the second week of school. A substitute bus driver is usually no big deal to most kids, but our little “monster” has a tough time handling this situation. And when I say tough, I mean the completely berserk kind of tough.
I had some giant-sized faith at the beginning of this new school year. I had even been bold enough to take down the visual schedule that was used to help Hunter adapt to any changes in routine. I had a new confidence that our little boy would eventually see that life and school were not all that scary.
Until he woke up the first day with nerves so bad he was literally sick. Until a snafu with bus schedules left him inconsolable one morning as the driver waited for a solution. But, it had started to get better. He had even started leaving his beloved “puppy” at home. I thought maybe, finally he had found another way to relieve his anxiety while at school.
“The bus is here!”
And, yes, Bus 66 had made its way around the turn. The same number. The same bus.
But wait! Our brown-haired male had been replaced with a blonde-haired female. Oh, great! Here we go!
And, sure enough…as soon as the bus stopped, I heard it. The scared and anxious wails of my little boy. He was NOT getting on that bus.
“Mommy! Mommy! I don’t want puppy! I just want Mommy!”
Yep, I was going to be taking him to school this morning, because I knew he was NOT going to even think about getting on that bus.
Then, as my husband handed me the boy with the tearstained glasses, he added this: “You know that little girl in the front seat actually looked up and said, ‘I wish he would shut-up and stop crying?'”
Say what? No, she didn’t!!
Well, little missy! I wish he would stop crying, too. I wish I didn’t have to add an hour to my day to drive him to school. I also wish I understood how a bus full of kindergartner through second graders lost the ability to show compassion and love to each other. To another scared kid. How does such disdain come out of the mouth of someone barely over the age of 7?
Don’t oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and poor people. And don’t even think of doing evil to each other. But people refused to pay attention. They shrugged their shoulders at me and shut their ears so that they could not hear. Zechariah 7:10-11
The words we hear come so easily out of the mouths of 7 years olds, also flow so freely from ours.
I know, because I have witnessed my daughter tell her baby dolls to be quiet, because their whining was giving her a headache. I heard her say the exact words I had said to she and her brother the afternoon before.
I know such adult speak, such hatred, such disdain for others problems, and struggles, and yes, even wails, often comes from us-the adults. The ones who are supposed to teach our kids how to be tolerant of each other, but find it so easy to pick apart the differences in personality, clothing choice, or life choice in those we interact with on a daily basis. The ones who think nothing of yelling the word “retard” at the woman parking her car in the Wal-Mart parking lot (Note: the women was me!). The ones who want to teach our children to think before they speak, but are quick to rattle off some not so appropriate words at the driver who cut us off (guilty!). The adults who are supposed to teach the next generation to love, but have a hard time showing love to our cranky, nosy neighbor (yes, that is me, too!). The ones who write the articles in the magazines that tell women and girls how they should look. The same adults who will critique the weight of women carrying the miracle of birth.
The same adults who are desperately trying to raise our kids in a cruel and dark world, but whose kids are learning that it’s not alright to cry. It’s not alright to be different. It’s not alright to be something other than what the media thinks is “normal.” And, it’s alright to point out each and every flaw.
Or to tell a scared, little boy to shut-up and stop crying.
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Romans 15:7
As I pulled up into the parking lot at school, I grabbed my little monster and gave him a hug. I took his hand and walked him to his classroom, even though I knew he has done this countless times before. And, as he stood, still crying in his new classroom, I hugged him. I told him I loved him. I told him to never let anyone tell him to be quiet. To always tell people how he feels even if he has to scream and wail a little louder.
Because, while it may be small, that is what compassion looks like. That is what acceptance looks like. That is how we love others. Understand their struggles. Have empathy for their wound up emotions. Walk with them hand and hand through those emotions, even if it means walking down the same path together. Over and over again.
It may be small, but this is what we should teach our kids. That’s what I hope I am teaching mine.
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6