Sunday afternoon was pretty quiet. The boys had just finished watching some gospel-oriented shows while Jad and I took a little nap on the couch. Then, Casey and Rigel went upstairs.
Casey came downstairs not long after, and told me that Rigel was making a card for his friend (we’ll call him Bob) that had his friend’s brother’s name (we’ll say his name is Will) on it crossed out. That didn’t sound good, so I went upstairs to talk to Rigel.
I asked him what he was doing, and he didn’t admit to anything. I then turned over the papers and saw the drawings. I told him to come into my room so we could talk.
He sat on the bed with me, and I stayed calm as I asked him why he had done that. Rigel explained that Will isn’t nice to him. I said I was sorry about that, and asked for examples of when he was mean. Rigel could only give one example from a while back, but said that Bob says Will is mean at home.
Staying calm, I explained to Rigel that we don’t judge others based on hearsay. I tried to tell him there are always two sides (or more) to every story, and we should base our judgments solely on how someone treats us directly. I also gave the suggestion that maybe Will was mean that one time because he was jealous of Rigel’s and Bob’s strong friendship.
If that weren’t the case, and Will really was being a bully, I made sure Rigel understood that just because someone may be a bully to us, that doesn’t give us a right to be a bully back. If we don’t like being bullied, why would we try to make others feel the way we hate to feel?
As part of our conversation I asked, “Would Jesus draw what you drew, Rigel?” He sighed and said “no.” I explained that Jesus would try to love and understand that person, and if He had a problem or concern with him, He would approach him and respectfully express it in hopes of reconciling.
I also felt the need to talk to Rigel about family. Bob and Will are brothers – pulling them apart is not good for either one of them. To illustrate my point, I wrote Rigel’s name on the paper and crossed his name out just as he had done to Will’s name. I then asked him how he would feel if one of Kamren’s friends gave Kamren a card that looked like that. He admitted he would be sad, and I added that Kamren would be sad too.
I reminded him that nobody in this world should be more important to him than his family. I want he, Casey, Kamren, and Eve to be close forever. I don’t want any of his friends to try to pull them apart, and I know that Bob’s mom doesn’t want anyone trying to pull her sons apart either.
I asked Rigel what he could do that would help Will. He wasn’t sure what to say because he was uncomfortable playing with Will, so I told him that it didn’t have to include being around him if that was too hard right now. I then gave him the suggestion to pray for him, to wish him well, and to encourage Bob to be close to Will, even if he might never be.
Rigel seemed to understand what I was saying, and we ended our conversation with me snuggling him, and telling him how much I loved him and what a good, loving boy he was. It was a special moment, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to influence him for good.
That’s what parenting is all about. I hope I can continue to have these calm, sweet teaching experiences with my children.
*Click here for a conversation I had with Casey about bullying four years ago.