Thursday, March 20, 2008

Little Acts of Following

A couple days ago our five year old came running and screaming down the hallway and leapt onto the recliner chair in the living room. I came out of the kitchen to see what was the matter. Chasing after her was one of our two year olds. He had his hands forward as though trying to grab her and then bite her. He appeared to be frustrated and angry and pursuing justice for whatever happened back the other way down the hallway.

Our five year old stood on the arm of the chair screaming, "He's going to bite me!". I came out to our five year old and had just finished asking, "Sweetie, what's the matter?" when I turned back to our two year old who had picked up a clean washcloth, had stuffed it in his mouth, and was madly chewing. By now, the commotion had also drawn Heidi my wife to the scene. I motioned my head to our two year old. As he chewed his anger appeared to be rapidly dissipating. Our jaws dropped to the floor.

Our two year old was chewing the wash cloth to manage his feeling of frustration and anger so that he wouldn't bite his sister. That was impressive! The day before we had shown him that he could go to the couch and grab anything from the laundry and bite on it when he feels frustrated or angry. Here he was taking proactive steps to manage his feeling of frustration and anger. Wow. At dinner Heidi made special mention and praise of our two year old's proactive behavior. Our family vision is "to follow Jesus" and our two year old's behavior was showing us the way! Jesus encouraged us to be creative with our circumstances ("...give him your shirt also...") and to be principled and proactive rather than reactive in our response.