Hurting people hurt people.
It’s a phrase I’ve had to tell myself until I am blue in the face. The fact is that we cannot control how people treat us. We can step back from these people to protect ourselves, but the initial offense is usually when we are blindsided.
He entered the van after school with a scowl on his face. He didn’t spill the beans as to what he did during his school day like usual. He is just tired, I told myself. He did stay up later last night.
” Everything ok buddy?”
” Yes I am just tired.”
The afternoon went on as I watched him disrespect me, and say ugly things to his sisters. This wasn’t like his normal behavior. I asked him several times if there was anything he wanted to talk about.
Nothing. On to soccer practice we went.
Trying to watch three children at once and have a conversation with a dear friend had my eyes and ears going in many directions. Luckily the playground was within a few feet from the soccer field, and I could see all three kids at once.
I saw my daughter climb the steps up to the slide. So bravely she attempted each step, one by one she went on with determination to get to the top. She loves to slide, and I love to watch the joy on her face. By the fifth step she falls, lets out a tiny wimper, and looks to see if I noticed.
” It’s ok baby! You can do it!”
She stands to her feet , only to meet a young boy around age 5 yell in her little face.
” You’re so stupid! You just need to shut up and go away!”
I was so taken back that I froze for a moment. My older daughter rushes to her aid, hearing what the boy had said. She gets down to his level, real close to his face and says:
” I heard what you said to my sister. That was mean. If my brother was here he would tell you to stop it!”
It was then I ran to interject. Slightly proud of my older daughter, and fighting the urge to get too firm with this boy.
I picked up my two year old, kissed her promptly on the head and let her go down the slide. By this time the young boy was on the monkey bars, as if trying to show me he was tough.
I calmly started up a conversation with him.
” Hey buddy, how are you today?”
” I’m fine. I have a green belt in Karate now. Your kid told me that she had a big brother. I could beat him up ya know.”
” Wow. I bet you are very strong. Hey bud, who are you with?”
” My grandpa, he’s over at the other field. He told me to stay here. I don’t need an adult to watch me all the time because I am tough.”
It was then I knew that this handsome, smart kid was hurting. Begging for attention of any kind, so he decided to pick a bone with my daughters. Stir up a little attention, even if it was negative feedback. Perhaps he isn’t shown any love, and in return doesn’t know how to show it to others.
Soccer practice was soon over, and I watched the boy walk to find his Grandfather on the other field.
Our son, having heard the conversation as a family about the boy that was being ugly to his sisters, he stops mid sentence and explodes.
” MOM, I WAS UPSET TODAY BECAUSE SOMEONE PUSHED ME AT SCHOOL. SHE DID IT YESTERDAY TOO. SHE IS MEAN TO EVERYONE. NOT JUST ME MOM.”
There it was.The explanation for his rude behavior. He was angry inside that he had been mistreated. When we are hurt intentionally , it is in our flesh to hurt someone back. In fact, hurt anyone we come into contact with. Does this reasoning excuse or validate our actions? Absolutely not.
This whole day made me wonder a few things:
How many ” problem children” in schools are having trouble adjusting because they are being mistreated in their home life?
How many adults that come across rude and hateful are in a marriage where they are abused?
Before we are quick to point a finger and judge people for their words and actions, we must give them the benefit of the doubt.
Are they hurting? Is the problem that they need to be shown love, Unconditional love?
The boy at the park and the kid at my son’s school have one thing in common.
They lack acceptance for who they are. They lack LOVE.
What if we gave people grace , regardless of their treatment towards us? Do you think we could show them real love, and in exchange soften their hearts?