Besides being stuck on frustration with other people’s parenting styles that are different from mine, I found myself being stuck on disappointment with my child this week for not living up to a value that I thought I had instilled in him.
A new kid moved into our community about one year ago.
This new kid was the same age as my son.
Practically to the day.
Yet, the new kid did not start at the same school as my kid, so for about one year, they had little interaction.
The truth is, there were plenty of opportunities for interaction, especially on the Sabbath, when many kids are just hanging out at each other’s houses. Yet, my kid made no effort to befriend this other kid.
Maybe this kid was a little different.
Maybe this kid wasn’t as mature.
Maybe this kid didn’t have so much self-confidence.
I don’t know.
I never really pushed my child to tell me.
And though I invited his family over a few times for Sabbath meals, my child never outwardly invited him to play or hang out.
In an entire year.
So, the year passes.
And, everything seems fine on the surface.
And then, the new kid decides to switch schools.
And, now attends the school that my school attends.
And, on the first day of school for the new kid (which was last week), he was introduced to all the kids in the class.
When the introduction landed on my child, apparently something was said.
My child told me, practically in tears, that the new kid said (in front of the entire class), “I HATE that kid!” (MY kid!)
So, my child came to me.
And questioned, how could this be?
HATE? What could my child have done (he thought) to possibly cause the new kid to hate him?
My kid was hurt.
My kid was embarrassed in front of his classmates.
My kid was angry.
And, quite frankly, I didn’t care.
“You know, YOU were a stranger in a foreign land, too, once, don’t forget!” (Biblically, Exodus: 23:9, and Literally, 4 years ago when we moved to Israel.)
I asked my child:
How would YOU have felt if you were the new kid and no one made an effort to hang out with you?
How would YOU have felt if you were the new kid, and there was a clique in the community, and you couldn’t get in?
The point was, I was tough.
I really felt for this new kid and I know that my child emotionally hurt him.
And, my child got it.
But, I was so stuck on making things right.
I demanded that my child speak to the new kid and clear this up.
And, to make a long story short, the conversation was not had, for various reasons (excuses).
And, this was not acceptable to me.
So, I arranged the conversation myself.
With the other parent.
I set a date.
For this conversation to be had.
And, it was.
And apparently, on that day of introductions, the new kid said, “He hates ME”, (not “I Hate Him”)… and, apparently, both kids felt good about talking it out and moving forward.
But, I was so stuck on making that conversation happen.
So stuck on making things right.
Instead of just noticing my frustration and disappointment and staying with that for a while.
And, even though I’m happy with the “results”, I question myself whether or not my lack of just being with my child, and listening, and being with his hurt led me to not allowing the situation to continue to unfold on its own…
Which may have allowed my child to take the rights actions on his own.
Which may have enabled the conversation at some point without my interference.
Which may have enabled me to just observe.
I really don’t know.
And, I question this.