A few weeks ago J explained to me that when I yell it empties the bucket of the person I yell at (in this instance it was our dog, Tonka, whose bucket I emptied because he ate the butter off the table). This was clearly a concept he was learning at school.
Fast forward to this morning on the way to school J said that Jesus made us all and we are all special. I affirmed this and added that we are all different and unique but specially made by God, and that God knew us before we were born but that once we are born we are in charge of making our own decisions.
I went on. That’s why it’s important to make sure you are always trying to choose the right choice- the kind choice- and that can sometimes be the harder choice. So every day we have to be brave in our choices right?
It takes courage to make the right choice doesn’t it?
Yea! That’s why bad guys are bad.
Well, no, bad guys aren’t bad in their hearts. They are just making bad decisions. They could turn into good guys tomorrow if they started making good and kind choices right?
So I went on. Okay, so you know some kids in your class who make poor choices a lot? They are still good kids, they just need extra help making good decisions instead of bad ones.
Right so bad guys make bad decisions.
Yes, they are bad because they make bad decisions, not because they are bad in their hearts. They make bad decisions because they were never taught to be brave and make good decisions. They maybe never knew what it was like to live with people making kind decisions every day so they don’t know any different.
So I went on. Everybody is good in their hearts. But we all fail sometimes. We all make mistakes and make poor choices sometimes. But it’s important to know when you do that you say you’re sorry and that God forgives you. Like when I raise my voice when I’m frustrated I know I’m making a bad decision so I say I’m sorry and that I’ll try to do better next time. But it’s so hard isn’t? It’s the hardest thing sometimes to be kind and make the right choice. It’s hard for me every day but I keep trying and I keep saying sorry and sometimes I do make a good decision and the more I try the more I make better decisions and that’s what’s important.
Ohhhh, Mommy, so when you yell you are really emptying YOUR bucket.
(my heart stops)
YES, yes. When I yell it’s not about the person (or dog) I’m yelling at- it’s about me and my struggle to make the right choice, the kind choice.
Kids get it. They are so intuitive and so smart and they will know what you are talking about. I want to make sure my kids don't feel shame when they make mistakes. They need to know that they will be forgiven and that they are not bad in their hearts because of their mistakes. And they need to recognize that about others too. Right when he made the connection that my yelling hurt me more than the dog it made me realize that understanding this would help his resiliency in the face of teasing or bullying or any sort of put-down by someone else: he’ll already know that those kids doing the teasing are emptying THEIR bucket, NOT his.
Our little people are good little humans who struggle everyday to decide and figure out what is right or wrong, and at this age it’s just about being kind.
In fact, at any age it’s just about being kind.