When Ken and I got 💍married, my older kids were ten and six years old. Over the next couple of years, big changes happened in my little kids’ lives. They moved from the only 🏡home they had known to a new city. They gained a step-dad and two step-brothers. They were separated from their dad during the week because he couldn’t move with us yet. 😢They welcomed a baby sister.🎉
They also started a brand new 🏫school. Ken and I bought Zane a cool new ⌚️watch to celebrate this milestone in his learning adventure. We were teaching him how to tell time, so we thought it was a perfect choice. The ⌚️watch had buttons on the sides. The digital screen lit up in different colors. We set the alarm for the time to start and end the school day. He wore that watch proudly on his first day of 🏫school, which turned out to be the exact thing that destroyed his little boy world.😟
Zane was nervous on that day. He was 😢sad and scared. We hoped that the new ⌚️watch would give him comfort. We thought it might be a reminder that time would pass quickly. We wanted him to look at the ⌚️watch and remember that he was loved. I guarantee you that he fiddled with it. I’m sure he pushed the buttons to make it 💡light up. I bet he even made the alarm go off because he didn’t understand all of its functions. You know what he didn’t expect? For his teacher to take the ⌚️watch from him as she scolded him in front of who he hoped would be his new friends. 😟He also didn’t expect her to keep it for a week because it was her policy. 😟Rather than running to my classroom to tell me how awesome his first day of school was, the little guy ran straight under my desk and 😭sobbed. He felt that he had ruined his chances of being liked by his new teacher. He thought the kids would think he was a bad kid because he got in trouble on the first day. He was sure that his new ⌚️watch would remain in the teacher’s desk as some kind of ransom for the rest of the school year. I was calm when I talked him through the situation. I cried later- more than once. 😢It’s years later, and it still makes me sad. That stupid ⌚️watch. When the watch was returned a week later- as promised- he put it in a drawer under his 🧦socks and never wore it again.😞
I tell you the ⌚️watch story not to shame the teacher, so don’t come for her in the comments. I’m sure I’ve done things as a teacher that had results I didn’t intend, too. I doubt she even remembers it, but we do. To paraphrase my favorite Maya Angelou quote, we remember how people make us feel. Like it or not, feelings stick. Words and time soften them, but they still stick.
Want to know a little trick to avoid those sticky situations? 👀Look beyond to see the person behind the actions. The customer who yells because the order was wrong. The lady who wants the manager. The little boy fiddling with his new ⌚️watch. Something else is going on with all of them. It’s not always what it seems. Our son was nervous and 😱scared, not trying to disrupt his class or annoy his teacher. Meeting him in the moment would have made all the difference in the world. 💯We won’t always be able to do this because the moment passes too quickly. We may never know the reason why the guy flipped the bird in traffic. Wish him well anyway because something is going on. When we can- dig deeper. Don’t be afraid to do so. Sometimes, just having someone who will listen makes the difference. 💕
What if…we meet the moment? Our 🌎world has so much 😱anger and frustration right now. I know we all see it. I’m sure we all feel it sometimes, too. Let’s 👀look beyond the obvious to find the real concerns and frustrations and struggles. Let’s meet each other in the moment. The ⌚️watch doesn’t need to go in the drawer. We need to find out why the buttons are being pushed in the first place. That, my friends, simply takes compassion. 💖