It has been a while. I feel like I temporarily lost my voice. I have not blogged or written at all in an month. It feels like years. Tonight I can’t sleep so I am going to write because it has always been therapeutic for me.
When is the last time your heart felt a little cracked? Maybe it was even shattered. Maybe a broken relationship was the culprit or maybe you lost a loved one or you learned of a diagnosis. Or maybe your heart hurts for your kid because they are going through something tough. Maybe your heart, like mine, breaks for the unkindness in the world and for people who are misunderstood.
We are currently in a season of tough. It’s called middle school. It’s not fun & I wish there was a fast forward button. I keep preaching that middle school is just something to be endured & that there is not a person alive that wants to go back to those awkward days but that does not make the here and now any easier.
I have been saying for years that the world would be a different place if we all showed a little more grace and kindness to others. Will you really think about that? Think about what the world would be like if we all worked to understand people who are different than we are. I get it – working to understand is hard work, not work that comes easily or naturally so it is much easier to become a judgmental critic but the world doesn’t need any more of those. I am not suggesting that we link arms and sing Kumbaya but dang it, can’t we all be kind and teach our children to do the same?
If you have been reading my blog long, then you know a little (or maybe a lot) about my family. I have done at least one full blog post on ADHD which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Our oldest child was diagnosed in Kindergarten & I am the first to say that I did not think it was a real thing until God gave me a child with it. He tends to humble us like that. It is real but it is not an excuse in our family. We show grace where grace is needed and discipline where discipline is needed. We don’t claim to get it all right but no one should ever accuse of us not trying.
I learned long ago that unless I have walked the same path as somebody else and experienced the exact same things that I am not in a position to judge because I simply don’t know what it is like or what I would do in that given situation. I am a learner and when I am faced with something, I try to educate myself. I read and I research until I feel like I have a better understanding. Since ADHD surfaced in our family 8 years ago, we have been advocates and we have read, learned, shared, & seen some of the best doctors around. We have never used it as an excuse or allowed our child to but we have also never dismissed it or ignored it.
Our kid is really heavy on the “H” of ADHD. He does well academically but as he has grown in size, he has not grown in maturity so all of his problems now surface not with his teachers, but with his peers. We knew this would happen one day but were not prepared for how it would play out. Lawson is in 7th grade but has more of a 5th grade (maybe even 4th) maturity level. All of Lawson’s peers have surpassed him in social maturity and this is hard to watch. It is even harder for him to understand why his friends from first grade don’t want to be friends anymore.
If you look up the symptoms of ADHD, particualrly for someone that is heavy on the “H” like Law is, one of the biggest traits is impulsivity. That has always been one of our biggest struggles. When he was a little boy, he might drag another kid down the slide but not out of malice or ill intent but just beause it was fun and he wanted everyone to experience the fun. That is still his struggle now but at this age kids (and their parents) are much less forgiving. Here is what I know for sure: Lawson is not perfect, he can be a lot to handle but he is KIND. He does not have a mean bone in his body & he loves so easily and so mercifully.
We recently verbalized something we have always known. Lawson’s spiritual gift is the gift of mercy. Thankfully, his adolescent experiences thus far have seemed to hurt us far more than they have hurt him because he is merciful and he is reselient. He will walk past a teammate and attempt to give them a high five and they completely ignore him. 30 minutes later, he tries again. I admire that so much. If someone ignores me, is unkind or writes me off, I have the tendency to do the same to them. I am certinly not going to attempt to high five them again if they shunned me the first time but that is where my child teaches me. He teaches me to forgive easily and just be love no matter the response I receive.
Recently when talking with Lawson about things that happen at school, I reminded him that we can always do something different & to know we are always open to whatever is best for him. His response: “Mom, I didn’t say it was unbearable. I love my school.” For the love. Speechless.
I can remember when I was growing up I would hear my parents and my grandmother say something like “you better sweep around your own front porch before you go talking about other people’s kids.” That basically means that we don’t know everything that our kids do when we are not around and we probably shouldn’t speak ill of other kids since we don’t always know the whole story. Hopefully, as adults, we all know that there are two sides to every story & I can honestly say that my husband and I have always sought the truth in all of our relationships. We live with Lawson so we know better than anyone that he can be loud, he can be impulsive, & he has trouble keeping his hands to himself. We are constantly working with him on all of this and just as we hope people can learn to be tolerant of him, we also teach him to be tolerant of others that don’t share his interests or don’t act or look just like him.
It has become increasingly clear to me over the last two years that people are not teaching their children to be kind. They may not intentionally teaching them to be unkind but by not intentionally teaching kindness you unintentionally teach the latter. I have never told my kids to “ignore” anyone. Of course there will always be kids that they don’t mesh well with so I always encourage them to draw boundaries – be kind but keep your distance if you need to. See that is just drawing a boundary whereas if I told them to “ignore” those different kids that would teach them to put up a wall and walls keep everyting out including kindness & love.
It hurts no one to just be kind – you are not enabling annoying behavior by being kind, you are just simply being tolerant. Kindness is alot like forgiveness in that aspect to me. So many of us don’t forgive because we think that if we forgive that we are condoning the offense but that is not it all, we are simply just choosing forgiveness for the benefit of our own hearts. You may have hard it said before that harboring unforgiveness is like drinking posion and expecting the other person to die. The act of forgivness much like kindness is for our own good as much (if not more) as it is for the good of others.
I just returned from an incredible evening and morning of bible teaching by Lysa TerKeurst. Since this summer she has been talking about the “meanwhile” of life which she refers to as “life between two gardens” Life began in the Garden of Eden and for Christ followers it will end in a garden when all is made right again. Genesis begins in a garden and Revelation ends in a garden.
One of the things I surrendered at this reatreat was my Lawson. I surrendered my worry over him, my concern over how kids treat him, and my concern over what people think of him and us. Satan is awfully crafty and literally as soon as I got home, I heard about some things that happned while I was away (I was only gone for 24 hours) and I sure was tempted to pick it all back up again but then I remembered the sweet time at the conference and the moment I chose to surrender all of it. I know that God is a good God and He has plans to prosper Lawson and not harm him. I may have to lay this one down everyday but that’s okay too. Life is not easy and parenting teens is certainly not for the faint of heart but we will get through it, there is really no other option. Thankful that we know first hand of God’s faithfulness, it makes the trusting a little easier.
When you go through tough times or encounter difficult people just remember, this is just life between two gardens. Take heart because something better is coming.
Blessings & love! Go be kind to someone just for the sake of it:)