“You’re an IDIOT !”
The words hit deep and hard in the heart of my precious seven-year old.
I saw his pain and recognised it for what it was. This was one of those important moments in parenting. The kind you don’t want to stuff up. A pivotal learning opportunity… and I prayed I’d have the right words to say.
The words that bubbled out of my mouth ended up surprising even me! It was certainly a teachable moment … but what I wasn’t expecting was that the lesson was intended for me, and YOU too !
As we drove home from church my sons mood was palpable. It was obvious something had just gone down that had really upset him. But I had no idea what.
“What’s wrong?” I asked…
After further pressing the answer I finally got was “I don’t want to talk about it. I just need to be alone”. So with arms crossed and a massive pout on his face, slouched low in the back seat we continued home. In silence.
As we drove down the highway, all sorts of scenarios ran through my mind of what might have happened to cause such a reaction from My Little Scientist. Obviously it was something bad.
It wasn’t until a while after we got home that he was finally willing to tell me what happened and I could tell the words were hard for him to say out loud.
“He. Said. I. Was. An. IDIOT”. (Mouth quivering)
I must admit I had to stop myself from laughing. “Is that all!!??” I thought to myself, relieved it wasn’t anything ‘too serious’.
But I am very glad I managed to stop myself from saying my initial thoughts out loud because clearly it wasn’t a small matter to him. The words had broken his little heart and right now I needed to find the right words to help it mend. I sent a quick silent S.O.S. prayer asking God to give me the right words to encourage my son in this moment.
“Of course you are not an idiot.” I said. “That boy just said those words because you wouldn’t play his game. He hoped it would make you start doing what He wanted you to do (which was to do the wrong thing) rather than what you were trying to do (which was the right thing)”…. “You just need to ignore it.” As the words came out I realised that it wasn’t going to be a sufficient answer. The words had really hurt him. How COULD he just ignore it and move on??
Doesn’t this happen so many times to us?
Even, as adults, it might not be as blatant as the name calling that happens in the school playground. (Or maybe it is!) But often it happens in subtle ways… A disapproving look from a passer-by in the shopping centre as we try to control our active (tired) toddler, a passing comment made ‘in jest’ by a work colleague, even the simple act of someone ignoring us can send a wealth of voices in our mind.
“You’re a bad mother”
“You aren’t smart enough”
“No one likes you”
“You are not worthy”
The words cut hard and deep. The voices in our mind can become hard to ignore and all we want to do is shut ourselves out from the outside world.
So what do we do?
A week before this incident happened at church, the children had been asked to complete a special task at home during the week. They were asked to pray and ask God a simple question. “God, who do you say I am?” and then wait, and listen for God’s answer. A simple single word. And write it on a poster.
I was amazed at God’s timing for us to have completed this activity just the week before, because, as I sat with my despondent son on his bed and hugged him, these words came flowing out….
“We mustn’t listen to who others say we are,
we need to constantly ask God,
the creator of the world and the creator of us,
to remind us afresh who does HE say we are.”
I looked up and there it was. A multi-coloured poster, pinned up in his room, answering exactly that question.
My heart leaped in praise as I suddenly realised what God had done…
“Tell me, who does God say you are?” I asked him. “God says I am clever.”
“And what is the total OPPOSITE of ‘clever’ ?”
…. A large smile suddenly spread across my sons face as he too suddenly realised the amazing moment that God had provided. “Idiot” he replied. And gave me the biggest hug ever.
“People judge by outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
God had already given my seven-year old a special word of encouragement, knowing that he would need it this day! Praise God.
Friend, what names have you been called lately? Can I encourage you (and your family) to take time today, it need only take just a moment, and ask the one who created you, who does he say you are.
Just for you.
“Allow God to transform you into a new person
by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Finally, I’d like to share with you a beautiful song to remind you of who you are. God’s Princess.
Who does God say you are?
What does God say you are not?
Today I am linking up with Jennifer for #TellHisStory link up.