He shuffled in with tell-tale hunched shoulders. I knew what had happened. Standing pools threatened to overflow his coffee colored eyes.
“Today was a very bad day,” he stared as the tears brimmed over and dripped to the floor.
Cry baby. That was what they called him. My heart was torn. Part of it agreed with the taunts. I had grown weary of the whines and secretly hoped this would toughen his skin. On the other hand I felt as though he needed some attention, but no more babying. Instruction was required.
The heart parted in two does a half-hearted job. My words were quick. I sent him away so I could return to the lunch preparations.
Thing grew worse from that moment forward. Like the pressure builds as a carbonated beverage is shaken the hours wore on with more complaining. Avoiding the necessary correction made it worse. During the next morning rush of getting the kids out the door one final shake, a twist, a pop, and an explosion. Mama and Papa had had enough. Him from the bedroom and I from the kitchen with the son caught in the hall the mess was horrific. Shouts, rash words, and judgements shocked my boy; more tears came. We doled out the decided consequence of his attitude choice. Reluctant apologies were exchanged and he went to school.
Home again with a note from the teacher. Name calling on a professional level now. The teacher implored us to help her with the boy who cried every time there was a challenge. We knew. The kid was already enduring the restrictions. I expected the un-curbed behavior to last for a few more days. Surprisingly there were no more tears before bed time. The good attitude earned him a tad more freedom for the next day, this day.
Dreading what our morning would look like I woke my wee ones. Yesterday’s mishaps had driven me to my knees. I announced changes. Thing I had let slide would be put back in place. Old rules were dusted off and brought to remembrance. The hope for a change from my son was slim to non existent. So I was surprised by a complaint free morning.
I called them to the front room. We reinstated family devotions. It was good to be back to this familiar daybreak rhythm. Before the parting prayer I asked my children to answer a question.
“What are you going to do today to show your love for God?”
Son’s hand shot straight in the air. He waited patiently as little sister blurted her response. After affirming her decision I turned to the boy.
“I am going to try not to cry today.”
Glad to hear that the message had not fallen on deaf ears I probed a bit deeper.
“Ok. So how is trying not to cry showing that you love God?”
“It shows I trust Him.”
Now it was my turn to cry. He got it! And he didn’t get it from me. The high volume rant he endured from his parents was void of the truth he had expressed just now. In spite of us Our Father had spoken to his heart.
Upon his return home today my son’s lips were quivering. This time it was a smile that he humbly tried to conceal; not tears. His whole face beamed as he told me, “Today was a very good day, mama.”