|Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2003 || Sass over suppression anyday|
Where is the line between allowing a child to express their feelings and disrespectful behavior?
I have been told by more than one person that Kaytlin was disrespectful to my mother while we were on vacation. So, here’s the rub.
First of all, I, above all people, know that our little girl can have an attitude. Believe me, I have been on the receiving end of it more times than I care to recount. And there is nothing quite like a little sass, a shake of that blonde ponytail, and those hazel eyes rolling to make my blood boil.
However, I feel that it is vitally important that we allow our children to express how they feel.
Even today I have been reminded how a childhood where most expressions of emotion were viewed as “back-talk” can carry into adulthood creating men and women who find it very, very hard to be honest with their feelings, let alone actually express them.
For the record, I do not believe that whether or not a child says “yes, m’am” or “no m’am” is a measuring stick for respect. For one, I do not ask my children to speak to me in this way, because it makes me feel old. I hate getting “m’am-ed”.
That’s just me.
I also know that this same blonde-headed, sassy pre-teen was recognized by teachers and administration for being respectful of not only adults, but her peers.
So, here is my thought. Is this really an issue of respect, or is it simply that there are some folks who are uncomfortable facing their own, or anyone else’s, feelings head on? It is a lot easier to say, “Don’t sass me,” than to try to find out why a child is expressing themselves in a “disrespectful” way.
After all, anything beyond “yes m’am”, “no m’am”, or “I am doing okay” is just not comfortable or appropriate.
God forbid we might not be “okay”.
I see it in churches all the time. “How are you?”
But deep inside hearts are breaking and no one feels safe sharing that with anyone.
To me, one of the most profound of Scriptures is also the shortest.
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)
A little background. Jesus had just returned to Bethany. His friend, Lazarus, had been quite ill. By the time He arrived, Lazarus had been dead for several days. As he saw his friends mourning the loss of their brother, He was moved, not only by their grief, but by their lack of belief in miracles (didn’t they know He could raise him?). He wept.
His reasons for weeping are not what I am trying to point out here. What strikes me today is that it doesn’t say He went off alone. It doesn’t say He preached them a sermon on how Lazarus was in a better place or how they lacked faith. It doesn’t even show Him running to their sides, giving them a big hug, and telling them it was going to be okay.
It simply says, “He wept.”
And in those two little words, I see that Jesus allowed Himself to feel. Unashamedly. Openly. Without reservation.
So, was Kaytlin merely expressing her feelings or was she being disrespectful? I can’t really say, because I wasn’t there to see or hear what she had said previous to my entrance on the scene. What I do know is this.
I asked Kaytlin how she felt that day in the doorway. She replied, “Bad. I didn’t understand. She never spoke to me that way before.”
For the record, I don't think that her intention was to wound Kaytlin. I think her emotional tank was so full from the frustration and disappointment of a vacation gone awry that it popped a leak that day on the sidewalk. That's what happens with suppressed emotions. They are going to come out, some way, some how, some day. And usually, it isn't real pretty.
But where hurt feelings are concerned, intentions really become a mute point.
So, I stand by my actions. What I saw in Kaytlin's face, I had not imagined.
I’d rather have a daughter with some sass who feels open to express herself than one who, 20 years down the road, is just now figuring it out.
Just a reminder - Friday, Aug. 10, 2007
Rockin' Girl Blogger - Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007
A good end - Friday, Jun. 01, 2007
Moving on? Yes and no. - Monday, May. 07, 2007