Sunday, October 31, 2010

Teachable Moments

Train a child in the way (s)he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  ~Proverbs 22:6

Teachable moments come during noise and during quiet, while busy and while calm, in crowds and in solitude.  The important thing is to recognize the moment, embrace it, and remember. 

Today's moment came during noise, busy-ness, and crowds at an afternoon harvest party.  Kaela found some of her school friends and they scurried off together giggling down the hall....old enough now to meander through the church without having to stay next to their parents.  Bryan and Graeson headed for the pumpkin bowling (yes, a real pumpkin bowled down the handicap ramp!) while Maezie and I went to the craft table.  While sitting with Maezie, I noticed Kaela and her friend standing with punch and cookies.  I remembered we had already told the kids they'd had their quota of sugar for the day, but I mentally decided I would let this one go.

Across the crowded room, Kaela inadvertently made eye contact with me.  Then casually, she hid the cookie behind her back.  Then, as if she already planned to, she casually turned around, moving the cookie now to her front (hidden from my view) and walked away.

My firstborn child--the one who is practically perfect in every way--had tried to hide from me.

A bit later, when we were gathering the kids to leave, Graeson and Maezie were given permission to get a cookie.  I quietly whispered to Kaela "I know you already had one."  Without warning, she burst into tears.  Apparently, her own sense of guilt, had been eating at her more than the cookie. 

I gently said, "It's not bad that you ate the cookie; what's bad is that you tried to hide it from me."

More crying, "But {her friend} said it was ok," more sobbing.

"And if you would have asked me, I would have said yes.  But it's not ok to hide it when you know you've done something wrong"

"(sob) ok (sob)."

Kaela fought her tears the rest of the way out of the church and across the parking lot, holding my hand the whole way.  As the others loaded in, I sat her down and we talked again, gently reviewing that the act of hiding was the bigger issue.  When I asked her why she thought she was crying she replied "(sob) I just don't like (sob) getting in (sob) trouble."

I explained "Everyone gets in trouble sometimes, even Mommy's and Daddy's.  But what's most important is that we understand when we do something wrong, we are sorry, and we learn from it."

She immediately apologized through her crying, "I'm (sob) sorry" hugging me even tighter.

"I forgive you," I replied, trying to hold it together myself.

Though this issue was not truly a big deal, I could have just let it go and not addressed the small indiscretion.  But the moment she burst into tears I knew it had to be dealt with.  Just like Adam and Eve in the garden when they realized their nakedness...they hid.  When God came looking and said "Where are you?", He knew darn well where they were and what they had done.  He wanted them to come out from hiding and address the issue.  Instead, Adam quickly turfed the blame off of himself, "Eve gave it to me".  Eve tried to cover her tracks as well "The serpent deceived me."  And thus began the unending, perpetual, eternal sin of human nature.

What if Eve had said to God, "I did something bad, and I'm sorry.  Will you please forgive me?"  Would the course of history have been changed forever?  We'll have to save that question for heaven, I guess.

My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,

for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

~Proverbs 3:1-3

1 comment:

  1. My brother was so sweet and contrite like her when he lied. He was so remorseful that he told my mom that maybe if she put the soap on a tooth brush she could get in the corners of his mouth...