Today, I took Peter and James to McDonalds, for a nice little date with my boys! We went to the one, near us, that has a three leveled play set, it was beautiful outside so we wanted to take advantage of the weather! Peter had to finish his meal first so that that we could go outside to watch him enjoy playing with the other children there.
I happen to notice a mother and her two boys (3 and 5-ish), both, of which, were wildly out of control and I thought ‘Great. . .Peter’s going to be in there with THEM!’ My ‘mom instinct’ was right. . .as soon as Peter took stepped into the playset, one of the two boys put his hands up, guarding the door to the slide and said “You can’t come in. . . .you’re NOT my friend and you’re NOT allowed!” At this point, I’m starting to stand up, in protest of what I’m hearing. Then the second boy called Peter ‘stupid’, and Peter told him “My mommy says that THAT is a bad word!”. Now, I’m getting irritated, and looked over at the mother, who is completely oblivious of the situation. Next thing I knew, Peter was crawling out of the play-set in just tears. I ran up to him, asked him what was wrong and he said, sobbingly, “That boy smacked me in my face!!”. I said (quit loudly) “WHAT?? What boy hit you???” He pointed. This little violent boy was now throwing his own tantrum and acting out to his mother, who was still doing nothing about it. I said to Peter “He hit you on the FACE?” He said, “Yes, but I didn’t hit him back.” I stood up and starting packing up our stuff and said, loudly. . .so that this mother would hear me, “That’s it. . .we’re leaving, I am not subjecting my son to be smacked by a kid in the face and have NO ONE doing anything about it. . .come on Peter, we’re leaving” He looked up at me with a big tear in his eye, and said “But, Mommy, I wanted to go down the slide again”. I breathed, deeply, looked at the boy, who was practically being sat on by his mother to try to control his outburst and rage, and told Peter to hurry and play before that kid went back in. He did so.
About 8 minutes later, once this kid had finally stopped screaming and hitting his mom, the mother allowed him to go back and play with his older brother. I, again, stood up and started packing things up again, grabbed James, and called out for Peter. He didn’t hear me. I could tell he was playing with the boys, and here’s what I overheard. . . .
Peter: “You know that ‘stupid’ is a bad word. My mom said not to use that word”
Boy 1: “I didn’t mean to.”
Peter: “It’s not nice to call someone that word”
Boy 1: “Well, I’m sorry for saying that. I didn’t mean it. I promise I won’t use that word ever again”
Peter: “And, it’s not very nice to hit our friends” (talking to the other boy)
Boy 2: . . . . . “You want to be MY friend?”
Peter: “OH, sure I do! I can be your friend!! . . . . Let’s play together!”
Later, in the car, I told him how very proud of him I was. He said that he made Jesus happy because he didn’t hit that boy back. I told him “Yes you did! You made Jesus happy, and Mommy happy, and Daddy happy. . .”
Lesson for the day: I don’t know why I didn’t strangle that boy, or his mother. I was so irate, that there probably was steam coming off of my head. I don’t know why I held my tongue. I don’t know why I didn’t wait for Peter to come back down and then just leave. I DO know that it was God. God was allowing me to be an example to Peter, by not losing control of the situation, or of my temper. Peter was such a great example of Christ today, to those boys. He was able to be a good example to them both, even though they were so unkind. Peter really taught ME something today too. I didn’t know this kind of thing would happen at such a young age. I am SO very proud of him. So proud, in fact, that after dinner I took him to Kohl’s to pick out a new train set for his Geo Track set (on sale too!) as a small reward. Even though I may later see these children on Nanny 911, I saw Jesus’ love through the eyes of my child today, and I know that God is in control of every aspect of our lives, and I can rest assure in that. Amen.