Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lessons from a Five Year Old

This semester, I have been teaching my son, Joshua, the Beattitudes in school as part of his Bible lessons. Each week we would learn and study about the next beattitude, memorize the verse, and discuss it's meaning. But, with 5 year olds, you never really know how much they are paying much attention and if they are truely understanding. A few weeks ago, I received my answer and more.

I was having a particularly rough time with his younger sister, Emily. Her strong will was at the top of it's game this day and we were not getting along. This all happening during school time with Joshua, nonetheless. Once I felt Emily was calm enough that I could focus my attention on Joshua once again, Joshua asked me, "Are you having an angry day?" With my heartbeat still racing from dealing with Emily, I relpied, "I am a little angry with Emily." Joshua made a suggestion. "You need to ask God and Emily to forgive you," he said.
(Blessed are those who mourn, feeling sad for doing wrong and seeking forgiveness-for they shall be comforted.)
Already feeling the anger leave and guilt settling in, I stated to him, "Joshua, Emily was acting in a way she shouldn't and being disrespectful. I have to do something." "What do you think I should do?" With just a moment of thought, he replied, "You need to show her mercy, Mom, and not give her a spanking."
Mercy-forgiveness and compassion especially when undeserved.
(Blessed are the merciful-for they shall obtain mercy.)

With my heart filled with love, pride, and even mercy, there was no more room for anger. "That's a good idea, Joshua." A few minutes later, I went back into Emily's room and sat on her bed, pulling her in my lap. I did all that Joshua suggested. I apologized to her for getting angry. I asked if she was sorry for her behavior, and she was and I immediately forgave. We prayed together and asked God to forgive both of us and thanked Him for His mercy. I told her I loved her. We had a much better time with each other for the rest of the day. Because of a 5 year old's insight, peace was in our home, once again.
(Blessed are the peacemakers-for they shall be called sons of God.)

I don't think Joshua understands all of the beatittudes yet, but he has an understanding far above what I thought. He is paying attention. He is understanding. And he displayed it in a way that would humble the most studied theological scholars. He sure did humble me.

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