She came in the door sobbing. The kind of cry that would make one think something must be broken.
“I’m a terrible person”, “I’m a terrible person” she yelled in between sobs.
I grabbed her close and asked her why she would even say that.
She is 5. Oh how I don’t want this for her. This naming and claiming of lies.
Apparently something had happened as she and her brothers came back home from a friend’s house. I don’t know if she fell, or if she intentionally did it…but somehow snow got inside the barrel of one of Gabriel’s nerf guns that she was carrying. In response, one of the neighbor kids told her she was naughty.
She was almost inconsolable. And while I know that my girl can be naughty at times, there is no doubt, I wanted to get at the heart of what she was saying.
I grabbed onto her hands and made her look me in the eyes.
I reminded her of the three truths we had given to her. Elijah had helped choose words for his sister after we picked his. Karlena is Adventurous, Kind and Brave.
As I held her hands I repeated those three words over and over.
“Karlena, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave, do you remember that?’
“God made you with those special qualities, look at me Miss…do you remember?”
“Adventurous, Kind and Brave”
She was still crying, but the intensity with which she was, had decreased.
Truth, she needs truth at this moment.
“You are NOT a terrible person, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”
And then we talked about how sometimes even filled with our God-given attributes, we make mistakes.
“Mommy makes mistakes, Daddy, Elijah and Gabriel…even Isaac off at college. None of us is perfect.”
“But we can’t let those mistakes define who we are. Not when you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”
We talked about forgiveness, about saying we were sorry if we had hurt someone/something…even if unintentionally. I encouraged her to tell her brother that she was sorry and promised her that he would offer forgiveness.
She said sorry with big, fat tears in her eyes but the second Gabriel said he forgave her she ran and gave him the biggest hug.
And as quickly as the storm had come in, it had left.
I am 41 years young 😉 and at times I still walk around reminding myself that “I’m a Terrible Person.”
I could make a list of all the reasons that would support my claim. But is that what God wants for us?
Yes it is necessary for us to take responsibility for our actions, and sometimes that means saying we are sorry and asking for forgiveness. Hopefully as we mature (and I am not quite there yet, trust me) we learn from our mistakes and turn from those choices to better ones.
I can’t expect perfection from my kids. I won’t.
I do pray that they start to embrace the amazing truths about who they are so that even when they do make a mistake they are so firm in who God made them, that they can weather the storm, the lies that will come at them.
This isn’t a parenting “fix” so that our kids will be appropriately behaved.
No, instead this has been an opportunity for growth in our home. A naming and claiming of the truth and a stomping out of the lies.
It is easy for me to start down the path of “why didn’t I do this sooner…” But I can’t stay there. I have an incredible opportunity to change the path we have been on. Less good versus bad and more truth to overcome the lies.
I start to get a little excited when I think of the freedom that will come of this…Chains are breaking friends, can you hear it?!
Have you given yourself or your kids three truths? I so encourage you to try it and then watch what happens as a result…I’d love to hear your stories as they happen, because I am confident they will blow you away!
Original Photo Credit: via