Monday, November 16, 2009

Mamma Bear

I had an ugly moment today. The kind of moment that you don't plan for. The kind of moment that once passed you wish you could go back and change.

I'm probably over reacting - but it struck me hard.

Today Levi and I went to the mall with our best friends Jennifer and Olivia. Olivia was playing with a toy on the wall, and a little boy came up and pushed her totally out the way to play with it. At the same time, Levi was crawling toward the toy to pull up and play on it. This little boy was hitting the toy wildly and when Levi got close enough to touch the toy... the boy started hitting Levi.

I was sitting right there next to them and at the same moment I flew out of my seat grabbed the little boy's hands, put my most meanest face on and said very sternly "You do NOT hit my little boy!!"

Levi was upset and cried. I'm not sure if he cried because the boy hit him, or if he cried because of his crazed mother's reaction.

Before I even sat down I regretted my reaction. It was just that - a reaction. I acted on impulse and out of anger. It was the first time I had every seen anyone try to deliberately hurt my baby, and I lost control. Once I got back to my seat with my crying baby, I realized that this boy was just a baby himself. Probably around 2.

I feel terrible that Levi witnessed me lose control. I feel terrible that I must have scared that kid. Granted he doesn't need to go around pushing and hitting the other kids - it was not my place to discipline him.

I also am so disappointed in myself because when you react to something you're acting out what's really in your heart. I didn't take the time to think about what I should do - I just acted purely on what my nature told me to do. My nature is mean, I learned tonight.

I never want to react when disciplining my own child. I never want to lose control. I never want to discipline out of anger - but always out of love. (I don't mean that I want to discipline less - I just want to do it productively and with the right spirit and motives. Motives to teach and edify, not to seek revenge or release my anger). I don't want my child to obey out of fear of getting in trouble, but because he truly understands right and wrong, and why to choose to do the right thing. And the way he will do that is if his parents use times of discipline as learning opportunities instead of screaming matches.

How do I change my nature so that when times arise when I don't have time to think - I react in a productive manner that helps the situation? How do I change my anger into love? How to I change the default setting on my heart from over-reacting raging mamma bear to a controlled and concerned parent who could use a situation like the one above as a learning opportunity?

This would all be fine if I could have a few minutes to think before getting into the ring - but our gut reaction is what matters - it's what shows us what's really in our hearts. I need to change my gut.

Being able to react in a controlled productive manner can only come if I see the world the way God does. Unconditional Love. The Impossible.

I think I need to go read Proverbs now and memorize a chapter or two. I need to hide it in my heart so that it can appear during these situations instead of ...


jennypen said...

Aw, Stef, you are overreacting. It's always great to be aware of those areas in our lives we need help with from above to improve, but you are filled with love for others, and it's plain to see.

Levi was placed in the best hands possible. I don't doubt for a second that he will be disciplined lovingly, firmly, and with a sound mind.

jeniferkarianne said...

I agree. I would have done the same thing. It takes all I can do sometimes to not tell other kids to be nice in a very stern voice...and I don't even have kids!

You definitely were not out of line, and Levi probably only cried because he was startled by the kid hitting him. You are a wonderful mother, and will always be! XO

Aaron and April said...

To be honest, I probably would've done the exact same thing. Then I would've been angry at his mother too. That's the first thing that went through my head as I read this was where in the world was this kid's mom while he was beating up my precious nephew. I agree that it's hard not to be angry, but I've also learned through teaching that sometimes it is up to others to teach children right from wrong. Don't give up on following your heart and instincts, I've found mine will usually lead me in the right direction.

jennypen said...

I hope to see a first Thanksgiving post soon!



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