When It’s Really Hard To Give Extra Grace

May 22, 2017

When the weather cooperates, Gman walks home from school. Recently he arrived home after school sobbing his heart out. It took me nearly five minutes to calm him down enough to tell me what was wrong. Apparently on his walk home he was pushed to the ground by a younger, but tougher kid. He said this boy kicked and punched him. Then he picked up a large rock and told Gman “I’m going to kill you!” to which Gman replied, “Go ahead, then I’ll be with my Dad.” The boy answered, “I don’t care about your stupid Dad!”

Gman’s tears weren’t about being punched or kicked or threatened. His broken heart was about this boy calling his Dad stupid.

Now, I’m not typically a Mom who intervenes or is confrontational. However, I was NOT feeling very extra gracey-gracey in this moment. I was MAD. Do NOT mess with my son and do NOT assault his mending heart! I marched over to this boy’s house to speak with his parents, who turns out, weren’t home. I told the older sibling I would need their mother to call me the minute she arrived. From the look on their faces, they knew I was angry and someone was in trouble.

It wasn’t long after and I received a phone call from this boy’s mother. She was distraught. My anger lessened as empathy kicked in. She didn’t doubt my son’s story of what happened. She understood her son’s shortcomings and she felt terrible. I felt sorry for her. She sent her son over to apologize and asked if I’d talk to him. Even though I felt bad for her, I was still upset and was honestly eager to talk to both boys, since I’d been given permission to do so.

I sat them down on our front porch and explained that they weren’t required to be best friends. They weren’t even required to be friends. BUT, they were expected to be kind to one another. I explained to this boy that what he said broke Gman’s heart and I told him why. I told him how much Gman misses his Daddy and that his words were more hurtful than any punch, kick or threat could ever be. I asked them both if they would promise to be kind to one another. They agreed. I asked them to shake on it. They did. And then I asked the younger boy if he would make me the same promise and shake my hand on it. He did.

And then I looked him square in the eye and said, “Everyone does or says things they wish they could take back. When we goof up, it’s so important to apologize and I’m so glad you did that. That’s a very honorable thing to do. When we screw up, we apologize. That’s a very big man to do that.” At last, forgiveness and grace found their way through my anger and Mama bear mood and rose to the surface.

I later had a talk with Gman about standing up for himself. I can’t tell him to hit back. I’m his MOM! But I did tell him to stand up tall put his hands on his hips and shout, “LEAVE ME ALONE!” My sweet boy, he’s a lover, not a fighter. But in that moment, I realized once again, and I’m sure Gman did too, that we need his Daddy. Life without him isn’t how it should be. My young man needs his Dad to teach him the balance between standing up for yourself and being a gentle man. I’m trying, but it’s second best for sure.

I’m happy to report it’s been a couple weeks since this incident and we haven’t had any more issues walking home from school. I think lessons were learned all the way around. I guess that’s all we can hope for in life, isn’t it? Take the bad, hurtful experiences and learn from them? Move forward a little more knowledgeable and a little stronger than before we encountered them?

Being a Mom is hard. Being a Mom without a partner is harder. I know there are a lot of you out there struggling to carry the full load of it all on your own too. I understand you. When we feel not enough for our kids, let’s remember God has an amazing plan for them. He’s not going to let one inadequate feeling Momma get in the way of His awesome plan for our children. And He’s not going to let us sink either. I’m so glad for that reassurance! Because on my own? It’s a pretty hopeless situation. I’m glad we aren’t alone-alone…aren’t you?

Isaiah 43:1-4 The Message

When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.

Read that again! Wow, right?! We matter. Our kids matter. We are going to be OK.

Extra grace,

Jodi

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  • Karen Underdahl May 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Jodi,
    I think you handled this situation really well, maybe both boys learned from the experience and positive things will
    come from it! You never know maybe they will become friends and if they don’t that is okay too. I think of you so often. I enjoy reading your blogs and all the sharing with others, it has to be so helpful to so many. Thank you!
    I hope you are having a good start of your week. We went to Fargo Saturday afternoon for the grand kids baptism, so glad that Jesse and Kathy have finally found a good church. We picked up my sister, Jo from Jamestown and took her along. Tanya and Tucker also went. It was a quick trip. Kathy made pulled pork for lunch and all the summer trimmings plus a special cake for the kids. We enjoyed our short visit, but we did have a flat tire on the way to church. I was in Kathy’s car so Jesse, Lynn, Jo and Savannah were in our car, thank goodness we headed out early, they all walked two blocks back to Jesse’s car and drove his. It would have been a shame if Savannah had missed her own baptism. So thankful they all got to church in time, and friends of Jesse changed the tire and patched it, they found a sharp piece of nail in it. We made it home fine, so the patch held and so thankful for the help. Have an awesome day Jodi, love you, Karen

  • Karen Underdahl May 22, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Would love to hear from you personally, Jodi!

  • Erica Weeklund May 22, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    That breaks my heart for you and Gman. I am sure what that boy did to him, and the graceful way you handled it, will stick with him. Good job:-)

  • Jeanie Martin May 22, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    You worry about teaching him to fight. I praise you for teaching him that words can make a difference as well. Gman suffered but the way you handled it and the lessons you taught the other kids….whew! I’m not saying that kid might not have issues and may be back at this bullying, could happen. But somewhere, there will be that memory of all of you on that front porch talking about feelings and dads and dying and being mean. I believe that story will be retold maybe years later, but it will be retold. You’re simply amazing in my book. Simply AMAZING!!!

  • Jan May 22, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    You are not only an amazing Mom to G but a part of the village for the other young man. Pray the other boy heard you when he might not listen to his mother. Hugs to G and Mama bear too ❤️

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