Updated: Nov 9, 2019
It had been one of those days. You know the kind: Everything seems to go wrong. I’d been in a sour mood, which only exacerbated the string of minor mishaps that came my way. By the end of the afternoon, the grey cloud that had settled over me had become somewhat of a permanent fixture.
It was a Sunday, so my family and I went to church for the evening service. We arrived a little early and were sitting in our chairs when a woman we knew approached us. Edith (not her real name) was a rock within our church. She fed the homeless each week, and anyone else who needed a solid meal. She reached out to mentally handicapped adults, taking them under her wing, regularly planning fun activities for them. Edith was known as a grandmother with a big heart who was quick with a hug and would do anything for anybody.
We looked up as she stopped in front of us. “God told me to pray for you today, Sharon,” Edith said. A smile started to ease its way onto my face. “But I didn’t.” And she left.
Wait ... what? That didn’t just happen! My husband and I were stunned and speechless. I really could have used some prayer that day. Why would she say such a thing? What could have possessed her?
I pondered that question for years. I’ve long since forgiven Edith; I don't think she even realized the barb she had slung my way. She had simply spouted out what was on her mind. Looking back on the incident still makes me laugh in astonishment. All of us have those moments we wish we could take back, the times when our mouths moved faster than our brains. Sometimes it’s only after we notice the disparaging look on the listener’s face that we realize it was a TMI (Too Much Information) moment. Oops!
Remember this story as you steer your kids through their school assignments. Maybe you’re having “one of those days” and your tolerance level has hit bottom. Be aware of your mood so you don’t jump all over your youngsters for small infractions or unintentional insults. Kids are much less cognizant of the impact of their words than adults. They often don’t think through how a comment could affect someone. So be quick to forgive. And if you slip up and send a zinger flying in response, be quick to apologize. Your kids are watching you and will follow your example. Don’t be an Edith; be a true encourager.