This is a guest post from my friend, a fellow mom named Bri. It really hit home with me, and I hope you get something out of this, as well.
The Forgiveness of Children
I’ve often wondered at children. Their ability to love unconditionally, even loving those that
don’t deserve to be loved. Their ability to forget the bad and only remember the good. Their ability to play with others and actually have fun. Their ability to laugh and be joyful nearly all the time.
Their ability to forgive their parents.
A month ago, I asked my eldest son for forgiveness for ‘punishing’ him for weeks for something that wasn’t his fault. And tomorrow, I will ask him for forgiveness again, for saying something to him tonight that I never should have said.
It wasn’t until after I heard his quiet, “I’m sorry, Mom,” did I realize what I’d said and the impact those words had. In the midst of the chaos that ensues in my house from 4:00 until bed time, which includes homework, chores, dinner, clean up, etc . (tonight also included a needed run to the grocery store), I became frustrated. Frustrated that my child was having issues with homework. Frustrated that it was taking him two hours to get a few things done. Frustrated that I was running out of time to get everything done on the day in which it needed to be done. Though now I am ashamed of this, I was frustrated that he was taking that time.
While in this flurry of frustration, my son asked for my help on a math problem. It wasn’t an overly complicated problem, but he still needed my help. With a heavy sigh of frustration, I helped him with the problem…during which he could obviously see that I was frustrated. Kids pick up on these things. That would have been minor if that was the only thing I’d done: Sighing in frustration. But what came next–now that puts me to shame. I turned to walk away and I said, “Bryan, I have more important things to do than put all my attention into helping you tonight.”
I almost didn’t hear his quiet response: “I’m sorry Mom.”
I should have said, “No, I’m sorry,” right then and there. But I didn’t. Instead, I continued my busy evening, still frustrated. It wasn’t until later that the gravity of what I had done hit me. I had told my son that I have more important things with which to fill my time than him. After spending some time angry with myself and crying over my obviously bad parenting, I asked for forgiveness from God. I will ask my son to forgive me tomorrow and tell him that I will always have time for him. And I will never again say the words, “I don’t have time for this,” in regards to my children. I will tell other people, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this because I need to take the time for my children.” I will remember that God always takes the time for me, that He never makes me wait for Him to finish something else that’s more important than me, that He never tells me that today is a bad day for Him and He just needs some space.
Obviously, I’m not sharing this because I’m proud of what I did. I share because I know that in today’s world, parents – especially parents who have more than one child, or parents who work outside of the home, or who are in school – are always busy and have all felt frustrated with “TIME.” And if you could have heard my son’s voice tonight, you would have slapped me. Because I know we are all guilty of telling our kids, “Later, not now, go find something to do, I’m busy”…..and the list goes on. We’re all guilty of some way or another telling our kids we are too busy to be bothered with whatever little thing they are ‘bothering’ us with.
This is our chance to change that. To let our kids know that work, school, friends, church responsibilities, social gatherings, even precious sleep is not more important than they are. Because right now, before they leave home (even after they leave home) is the time to let them know that they always have someone. Someone they can come to when they have a bad dream. Someone they can come to when someone is mean to them in school. Someone they can come to when they need help with a project. Someone they can come to when their first boyfriend/girlfriend breaks their heart. Someone they came come to when they are frustrated with work.
Someone they can trust will always have time for them.
I heard the quiet heartbreak in those three words and Lord, I wish I could take them back. But, if anyone reading this has a child, you know my son will forgive me. It does not change the fact that what I did was reprehensible. But perhaps this small testimony from one mom to another parent will keep you from ever uttering those words and going through the heartbreak of hearing your child’s broken voice saying, “I’m sorry, Mom,” for something they should never apologize for.