I hadn't seen my granddaughters in a month. They're out of school now and have been going to a Y-club for daycare while their mom works. The first topic introduced by my older granddaughter was the isolation she felt as a new kid in the mix of children. She's a gregarious little gal and loves to socialize. However, sometimes when she thinks she has a friend in someone, she's quickly betrayed when an older friend to that "someone" enters the equation. It's a never-ending circle of difficulty that comes with childhood socialization.
It also creates a dilemna of sorts for parents as they try to teach young ones conflict resolution. Some say ignore them. Easy for us to say, we don't have to play dodgeball and relay races with them. Others encourage them to work it out, go to the other person and let them know how you feel. That could work if there's a facilitator to help guide the tender emotions and minds of children involved. Still others say, forgive them and turn the other cheek. Be as kind as you can be and everything will work out. Sometimes that works. But often bullies prevail and instigators provoke. When all else fails, a parent can go to the leaders of such a daycare and intervene. But what's a grandma to do?
Well, after you get over the initial transferral of heartache for the child, and desire to defend at all costs, you pray. You pray for God to give you the right words to say to your grandchild. In my case, I discovered Brooklyn didn't so much want a solution as she wanted understanding--someone to hear her pain. She needed:
~~Empathy. How did that make you feel?
~~Identification. That's how I felt when I was your age and had friends treat me like that.
~~Compassion. I can understand how hurt you were. I'm so sorry you had to go through that situation.
~~Assurance. You know, some folks don't have someone to love them. But you always have me and Jesus. No matter what others think or say or how they treat you, you need to always remember that, okay?
~~Guidance. What do you think causes folks to act like that? What do you think you could do to make a difference with your friends?
~~Instruction. If I were you, I'd be as kind to them as possible. And if they say mean things, I'd say kind things. I'd say, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I don't feel that way about you. I'd like you to be my friend."
~~Prayer. How about we pray about this? Let's forgive these friends so we feel better about them. Then let's pray for them to know Jesus, too. And then let's see what God can do to make it better for everyone.
As I thought about these things, the Lord impressed upon me that adults are not exempt from the same problems. Conflict is inevitable in life. Sometimes it is best to avoid conflict, because it is not worth time, energy or emotions to battle. It's better to reserve our strength for the battles that matter--those that make a difference in eternity. Forgiveness is a much lighter load to carry than bitterness and revenge. After all, love never fails and Jesus is the best remedy, don't you think? selahV
[copyrighted, SelahV Today, 2008]