"It is an honour for a man to cease from strife…"
(Proverbs 20:3, KJV)
Knowing when to pick your battles.
It takes a bigger person to stand down. I was going to confront someone after something I witnessed. My child was playing with another child. I don't know precisely what happened between the two children because I couldn't see them from where I was. My 2 year old went to strike a 4 year old. Now, I know for a fact this 4 year old has loose hands, the same 4 year old recently hit a 7 year old. I also know for a fact my 3 year old when annoyed is very loose with his hands as well.
Needless to say I didn't witness that specific encounter, I did hear when an adult (not the parent of the 4 year old) spoke to my 2 year old and told him "hey we don't hit, play nice". My two year old walked away as did the 4 year old. Now the mother of the 4 year old at first said, it's ok, he's only a baby, then her friend who didn't realize I was watching said "nah man, if she gets hit she needs to hit back", this woman's mother who was the one whom initially spoke to my son said, he's only a baby, we just got to teach him from now that we don't hit our friends. The 4 year olds mother agreed. The 24 year old then said again, nah man she needs to toughen up, if she don't learn now to hit back and defend herself regardless who it is, she will get walked all over. Then the mother of the 4 year old said, yes I should tell her hit him back, they all started to laugh after that.
I was going to approach them about that whole conversation but felt it wasn't the place to start a fight (we were in church). I was more annoyed at the response. Granted my two year old is a baby, granted he is in the Hitting phase, granted I am working on this which i am not too proud he is in this phase.
As I called my two year old over to me, i reprimanded him. The elder mom stated he wasn't wrong, he's only a baby, I responded no, they both need to learn to keep their hands to themselves. The 24 year old walked on by, I personally have felt she has something against me and you know what, I'm not loosing sleep over your animosity. I've never done anything to you, so whatever beef you got, either address it or cut the crap, I'm too old for this nonsense, but that doesn't mean take it out on my kids either. Mind you we are in church, how dare you disrespect the lords house in such a fashion….
So I say nothing, not because I felt in the wrong, because this person is the explode type when addressing any situation and I just had a blessing with the sermon about prosperity that I didn't want to loose my blessing….
I wanted to keep the peace.
When the mother of the 4 year old passed by I said, look if my kid hit your kid i am sorry.
I don't think she knows that I saw and heard not only what she said but I was watching her body language as well. She responded to me, "he's only a baby, it's ok."
We kept it moving. As I said I didn't see the kids interaction, but I apologized just in case.
I simply saw the adults reaction to whatever happened.
I am not one of those parents that gets defensive if you reprimand my child. If they need to be put in place by telling them hey, we don't do this or that, I'm cool with that. I am not cool with co signing on violence and bullying.
What bothered me more was the response.
Hit him back so what he's a baby.
Insert pretend to hit someone action.
I was livid that this was the conversation and response after a sermon about wishing prosperity for all. After a sermon on love for all. After a sermon on success for all. After a testimony about a financial blessing for the church after random acts of kindness gave testimony of whom we are as Christian's. That acts of kindness moved someone not in the faith to bless the church monetarily.
I was perplexed at the fact that all this went in one ear and out the other.
I could've said something.
I chose not to start a war, not to start conflict I chose to let it go.
I am not going to lie, it bothered me, still does. Yet some battles are worth not fighting. Instead I will ask to lecture about bullying. I will ask to preach against bullying. I will ask to preach about turning the other cheek. When to know to defend oneself, how to pick your battles wisely.
The Mother of the 4 year old father I guess in the moment under peer pressure:… the 24 year old is known for her temper. I would rather just keep peace.
The bigger prize and picture that day was me not loosing my blessing. I wasn't going to lose out on something amazing from God for anyone. My two year old in his terrible twos is something I constantly pray over and work on with him. I know it's not going to end today, nor tomorrow, but know with time this phase will be over.
I also know that I will not stand for bullying regardless of where it comes from. There is a way to address this subject I just have to find it and ask the Pastor if we can take that route.
Yes I am hurt, yes I am offended, yes I am upset. Writing here has let me release what I am feeling. I have already forgiven the party involved. I've already asked for forgiveness for my sons alleged transgressions day of. Yes this is a lesson in itself.
We must always learn and be cautious of the battles we choose to face. We should always be weary and think is it worth it? Was I also in the wrong? What can we do to make similar situations not happen again. Will we be endangering ourselves in saying anything?
I trusted in the voice from within that said let it go. Don't waste your time. I'm glad I listened. Though today I write about it. Not out of bitterness or resentment but out of learning and understanding: today I write about it because as parents, Christian or non Christians alike we face these challenges in public settings, when kids go to school etc. we face the possibility of will my child be bullied and how will I handle that, we all face that struggle that I don't want to be the mother of a bully either. The scenario that I displayed that took place with my two year old, the four year old and the comments of a 24 year old woman whom does not have any kids of her own, is a scenario that plays out daily.
Mother takes child to a park.
Child plays with another child.
Child 1 & 2 have a sort of disagreement;
Child 2 wants to play with a you, refused to let child 1 play. Parent of child 1 says no grab your toy, snatch it from them, child 1 listens, child 2 stays shook, child 2 goes on and plays with something else: the now powerful and victorious child 1 wants that too, parent of child 1 encourages child 1 to push child 2, hit child 2 of need be to get what they want.
Parents observing observe the type of parent said parent is, many do not get involved. Encouraging bullying is not the solution. Encouraging bullying is not the answer, encouraging bullying needs to stop, whether in a secular setting or non secular setting. The world is ugly as it is already, if your not going to be apart of the solution, you my fears are apart of the problem.
Advice is welcomed in the comments, shared experiences is welcomed as well.
Before I end this post I want to finish with a prayer, father God we come before you and thank you for your good graces. Thank you for guiding us, for loving us, for speaking to us and discerning which battles are worth fighting for. Thank you for your hand in victory in my life, thank you for the wisdom and courage needed to walk away from certain circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to rule out possibilities that may arise based on personality traits that can escalate any given situation. You have guided and prepared me in such away, and it's because of that we were victorious and I didn't loose out on your blessings. I pray for anyone dealing with the burdens of not knowing which battles they must take up. May they seek your guidance and support to make the correct choices. As I begin my research for better equipping folks locally I ask for your guidance, may this be approved by you, may this be guided by you and may you get all the glory in the steps to come. Amen