And my heart broke for my boy.
He is a very sweet kid - sensitive, eager to please, and truly finds delight in seeing others happy. So when his friend today called him "mean", he was sad. And felt rejected.
I should tell you that I am also a very sensitive person, so dealing with my son's hurt feelings nearly kills me. I want to wrap him up in baby blanket, hold him to my bosom and never let him go (which would be very awkward considering he's 7, lol).
So I called on God for wisdom and strength, and then sat down with my son to talk. These are the things I wanted him to hear:
- Who we are in Christ - this is truth, not what others think of us. I told him that just because his friend called him mean doesn't mean that he is. His face brightened considerably. He's so young that he'd never thought of that before.
- If we do something wrong, we can confess our sins to the Father and He will forgive us.. every time. We talked about what his friend might have been upset about and what he could do to make it better.
- Because God loves us and forgives us our sins through Jesus, we also, can forgive the sins of others (and ask God to help us do it).
- Jesus understands how my boy feels because he was rejected by all of his friends when he was arrested.
- God said that persecution will come with being a follower of Christ. Even though that isn't what happened on the playground, there will be people in our lives who don't like us, so we need to be strong. And how can we be strong? We need to know and believe the truth about our identity in Christ (so that we won't waver by the thoughts and opinions of others), and constantly ask God to be strong for us in all situations.
It's important to name feelings for children as they grow so that they can identify their emotions and deal with them appropriately. My son today learned some new words - loneliness, persecution, and rejection. However I pray he learned some other, more important ones as well - compassion, forgiveness, identity, and faith. I'm leaning on Him to teach me as I teach my boys. I certainly need it!
Keep talking to your babies... it makes a world of difference... Praise the Lord!