Skip to main content

Take A Breath

As I sat in the Chick-fil-A drive-through line, a child's voice caught my attention. The boy sounded as if he were pleading to his mother about something. Looking over my right shoulder, I could see a woman, a young boy, and a young girl walking to a newer model Honda van. The kids each had balloon animals given to them by a local artist inside the store.

The pleading seemed to relate to not wanting to leave the store but I wasn't entirely certain of that. Lowering my passenger window, the audio was clearer.

"Shut up! You're embarrassing me!" My heart sank. Telling a child to shut up is bad enough but clearly this woman was more concerned about the people around her and their opinion.  She mentioned another sentence about the need to leave and that the children were causing a scene.

Take a breath...

Really, lady? The kids are causing the scene? You are making this worse! This was a meltdown in progress and it wasn't going to end well. Some stress, some news - something - had sent this evening spiraling out of control. My heart thought of the kids who had likely been enjoying the food and balloon artist moments ago.

Take a breath...

The woman screamed, "Shut up!" At least one child began crying. Her goal was accomplished: slaughtering the child's will to speak and reduced to tears. Bravo, lady. Whap, whap, whap, whap! The sound was clearly a child's bottom, arm, or leg being hit with a hand. I prepared my phone to write down her license plate. I was going to report the driver for child abuse, endangerment, or something.

Take a breath...

A moment later the van drove by and the angle made it impossible to read the license plate clearly. I was mad at myself for not getting out of my car, engaging the situation, or least taking a picture of the license plate from a better angle.

But would that have solved anything? Would it have really solved the issue? Calling the police may have been a solution to simmering this situation down but the problem was deeper than her anger lashing out through voice and hand.

Assuming she was their mother, I know as a parent I've had bad days. Comparing bad days doesn't accomplish anything because my bad, your bad, and her bad days are no different in God's eyes. For me, the key thing was to seek forgiveness from God and from Georgia when I acted foolishly. Children need to know you can make mistakes and they need to know how to seek forgiveness.

More importantly, the key thing for me and most parents in this situation...take a breath. Instead of launching into a situation with a raised or exasperated voice...take a breath. Walk away from the situation if needed. Then, come back with a cooler head. Those seconds can result in minutes of better understanding instead of minutes of further verbal or physical issues.

I prayed for that woman then and on the way home. I prayed that her anger become peace, that she forgives herself and apologizes to the children, that whatever is going on in her life is paled in comparison to a God that loves her. I prayed that whatever stress she is under would be lifted and placed at God's feet. I prayed that if she didn't know Jesus - that she would not be able to escape people being brought into her path to share His love.

Next time, please, take a breath...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

NEA Is Full Of It

"When did you become some political?"

That question is asked of me routinely by random friends in various wording. Fact is, five years ago, before moving from Mississippi to the DC Metro, the extent of my political expressions were limited to voting in elections. I didn't discuss or write about politics. Frankly, I rather despised politics. These days, it's impossible to be a conservative and not speak up while living near DC.

Limiting the amount of political sharing on my Facebook page is a daily goal. After all, no one wants to only hear about one genre from someone all the time. Sadly, there's a lot of material out there that most of us shield our eyes and ears to it or have it spoon-fed by the the media instead of researching and forming our own conclusions. At least two people have defriended me on Facebook and several more dropped off my Twitter feed as a result of my conservative views. Their loss.

Some things simply must be shared. Such as the recent even…

See You Around, Mike

Three weeks ago, I attended the memorial service of a dear Brother in Christ. Sunday, June 10, would've been his 56th birthday.
I miss my friend. But what's sad is that I didn't miss Mike until he was gone.

At least in the middle of the odd month, but definitely by the last week of it, Mike would always reach out to me with a request. It was usually to load a certain worship music video or some game show music. Sometimes, he needed some specific slides created or sound effects. Mike put a lot of thought into preparing the lessons.

For certain lessons, Mike asked the kids to write something that was bothering them or something that was a sin. Then he had them take hammer and nail to that card and attach it to an old rugged cross. Mike often brought in props to physically connect the Bible stories to the kids. For example, when he dressed as an innkeeper and walked in a wheelbarrow full of fresh cow manure. He was adding the smell of a barn to the lesson just to help set th…

Risks Of Being Vulnerable

Being vulnerable can be so rewarding. It can also be horrifically disappointing. Stereotypically for guys, being vulnerable with thoughts and feelings is simply against a man's nature. It doesn't come naturally. Emotions are saved for when men are alone or to share only with spouses or best friends. I think of the Tom Hanks line from A League of Their Own: "There's no crying in baseball!" Anger seems to be permitted but not fear, worry, or tears. More often I've seen people apologize for getting upset or tearing up than for showing an angry or passionate reaction. 

The more reflective emotions seem to be reserved for women. It seems stereotypically more natural for women to be shedding tears or showing concern. Yet, too much or too frequent emotional displays can also bring scoffing or ridicule.

It's like there's no winning when it comes to being vulnerable. This is why being vulnerable is hard and requires intentionality. 

The reality is that being vuln…