The flip-side of social suffering...
Hey sweet Mamas — I'm paraphrasing my favorite author here - "The day you delivered your sweet little bundles, you brought them into a crazy world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen to them. Do not be afraid." - thought borrowed from Frederick Buechner.
Other human beings will hurt us. We will hurt some of them. The question is what to do with the pain. Of course, there are different levels of pain. What I'm thinking about today is the small-to-moderate variety of human-on-human hurt. And with the start of the school year, my mind is also on my kids.
My middle kid, 8th grade girl, got my attention yesterday. I asked her if she had any particular hopes or goals for 8th grade. She said, "I would like to be more focused and present in class, but really, I just want to try to be kind to 7th graders because I wish 8th graders had been more kind to me last year."
We hear a lot about paying it forward, but she wants to flip pain on its head and pay it backwards. What a sweet picture of redemption.
I've watched the same thing with my senior. He experienced a ton of rejection from 5th grade through last year. Now most of the kids who dished that our are gone, and he seems intent on making sure every kid he comes in contact with feels accepted and respected. He is investing time and energy encouraging younger tennis players, to help their hearts as well as their tennis game.
Our hearts are drawn to redemption stories. We eat up redemption movies. It is because we all understand brokenness. The thought that we could be mended, that relationships could be healed, goes to the very depths of us.
But to live a redemption story means that you must experience pain.
This is not intended to be a brag session on my kids. Don't worry — we have plenty of whining, door slamming, and eye rolling around here. And I have cried myself to sleep many a night knowing my kids were in pain because of social rejection.
But what an awesome thing to help our kids consider how they can take rejection, flip it around, and pay the beauty of redemption back to younger kids. This works for me, too. I had a lot of internal pain and anxiety during my years with babies and toddlers. Now, years later, how do I flip that around and give back to the Moms who are in that season now?
What does this look like for you?