My friend shared with me a story concerning her little girl that got me thinking about grace and mercy. She was in the kitchen busy preparing a meal. Her little girl was in the kitchen with her helping.
As part of her preparations my friend had made a marinade and put some meat in it waiting to put it in the oven. As luck would have it, as she prepared to put it in the oven, her little girl bumped into her and she dropped the dish and the marinade poured all over the kitchen.
It took her three days to completely clean the mess and get rid of the oil. She was so mad. Her little girl was so sorry. “Am Shorry mom, I love you.” She kept telling her over and over as the mom cleaned up the stuff. “I was just trying to help”.
The story made me think of the many times when my own children make messes trying to help and the numerous times I break their hearts because my focus is more on the mess than the intentions.
Sometimes I will run to the kitchen at the sound of breaking glass only to find one of the boys standing there with soapy hands holding a broken plate looking so defeated. “Am so sorry mom, I was just trying to help.”
Unfortunately I go on and on about the plate and forget that the real treasure is not the plate but the need to raise a child who is confident enough to try new things. I also conveniently forget the many times I err and God is more than gracious with me.
Somehow forgiveness and grace is so much easier when the errant child is not yours. As a parent, I have to continually remember the 70 times seven rule: forgive and extend grace.
I need to keep the big picture in mind that the issue is not that my children will not make mistakes along the way, but that these little blunders should be lessons that will help them not make bigger blunders in future.
It is through us that our children learn how to be not only kind to others but more importantly kind to themselves. So next time your child breaks your favourite dish trying to arrange the cupboards, or scratches the CD as they arrange the table; take a moment to inhale and look at the bigger picture.
They were merely trying to help. Focus not on moaning your loss, rather celebrate the initiative and teach them how to do it better and more careful. As you learn to extend your little one grace, you will be setting the pattern on how to love self and others.