Things may not be what they seem…

How often do you hear the phrase, “Hold on, hold on, let me explain…”? Do you assume the worst and hope for the best? Is this the way anyone else parents? I can’t seem to help myself. Somewhere in my DNA, God has hardwired a gene (or maybe a gene mutation) that drives me to keep everyone happy. I don’t want anyone mad – especially at me. So, if I’m across the room and I see my kids do something that I think could be upsetting to someone around them, I lose my mind.

Let me share a recent experience that brought this to my attention. I recently took a video of my guys playing around. The two older guys (Derek and Isaac) whispered as they were sneaking around to surprise and ambush Russ as he was playing his video game. They sneak up, they each grab an arm and pull from each side. As soon as they grab his arms and he begins to protest, Jono gets up and runs in front of Russ. The two bigger guys cheer him on and encourage him to “get him”. Instead of messing with him, he grabs his game controller out of his hand and begins playing the video game. We all laughed, and thought it was hilarious that instead of using his chance to annoy his brother physically, he was going to annoy him by stealing his video game, and just ignore the chaos going on behind him.

The situation was not what we thought, though. I kept expecting Russ to stop yelling at his physical tormenters and start yelling at Jono, “Give me my controller back! Put it down! Leave my game alone! You’re gonna lose my game!” My youngest, Jono, ran over and took the controller from the hand of Russ and began to play for an entirely different reason. If you could see the rest of the clip, you would hear my youngest yelling, “I’m just trying to help!”. He had been watching his older brother play and knew where he was going, where he had been, and what his goal was in this particular game. He ran over and took the controller to save his game. He was helping his brother. He was trying to keep him from dying and losing all the progress he had made. What looked like one brother taking the opportunity to seek revenge on the other, was actually one brother trying to help the other in his time of need. Plus, he wanted to see how it ended…

Have you ever had really good intentions, but someone assumed differently? Tried to do a good deed and it turned into a train wreck? You’ve tried to help, and made a situation worse? You feel like you have done the right thing and ended up making someone mad at you? I know I have. Wouldn’t it have been great if someone would have assumed the best and asked questions later? How great would it be if we could see past the actions and straight to the intentions of the heart?

My two younger kids had to explain this particular situation to me. First of all, it made me feel guilty for my participation in this premeditated bushwhack, and brought to light what a bad influence my husband and son really are. Secondly, I realized how I really respond to my kids. My first thoughts are almost always, “What did they do now?”.  I do assume the worst. I do worry more about what others will think than the motivation of the hearts of my children.

As this new year begins, I’m going to try to pause before I react. I’m going to ask if the ridiculous action I just witnessed was a burst of testosterone or a good intention gone wrong. Or maybe, find out that what I thought was ridiculous, was actually a meaningful gesture that I simply did not understand. Above all, I’m going to be thankful for these precious hearts, and the time they are entrusted to me while on this earth, and I will laugh with them every chance I get…

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Married to the love of my life for 20 years, mother of 3 boys, recently “retired” from the beauty business, and learning to be a stay at home Mom.

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