Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Crayons Cost a Dollar; Children are Priceless

Not all adults treat children kindly. I learned this cheerless nugget of information before I mastered tying my shoes. The event took place during a play date at my neighbor’s home. The Dijon shag carpet scratched my knees as I leaned over and enthusiastically accepted Adam’s invitation to a coloring contest show down. With a carnation pink crayon clutched in my fist, I pressed the dyed wax against paper and vigorously shook my writs. Snap. The crayon didn’t bode well against my childish fervor. The green crayon snapped next, and then the orange. Adam’s father was incensed.

“Those are Adam’s new crayons,” he barked. “If you break one more I’m going to spank you.”

Before he finished his sentence the metallic crayon buckled under the pressure of my chubby four-year-old grip. The next sound I heard was the hollow thud of a strong hand connecting with the small of my back. Air escaped my lungs and failed to be replaced for what seemed like minutes, but was seconds in reality.

Funny thing, I remember so much about that day, but not a smudge of the physical pain. I’m sure it hurt. There was a large raspberry red palm imprinted on my back for at least an hour. But that’s not what I remember. I remember the smell and color of the crayons, and the genuine laughter and enjoyment of playing with my friend. I also remember the breathlessness I felt after the strike, and the horror of being struck. Shame presented itself as well. Breaking the crayons was not an act of willful disobedience, rather a childish blunder, yet still, I felt like a bad, bad girl.

Tears streamed my face as Mrs. P gently gathered my belongings, brushed strands of my butter blond hair away from my eyes, and instructed Adam to walk me home. An event created in five minutes will never be forgotten.

My sweet Pumpkindoodle is not much younger than I was when what I now refer to as the awful crayon incident took place. She’s a social gal like her mama and her little friends visit often. All of her friends are loved and welcomed in our home, but being the honest blogger that I am I must write that some children require a wee bit more patience than others. I can say that without guilt because I’m sure that there are several parents who share that sentiment when it comes to my girl.

It’s my heartfelt prayer that our home be one of hospitality not only to our adult friends, but to the friends of our children, even...especially, the ones who sometimes try my resolve. I pray that the words I speak to those precious ones be edifying; words that drip with kindness, love, and cheer. I pray that I will take the time necessary to get to know these little beings and be another encourager in their courts, because this world and its inhabitants sling some harsh blows. I pray that our home will be a safe haven amidst this blistering society, and that my children will know how to love because they see love in action every day.

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 13-15





24 comments:

Lisa writes... said...

What a poignant post; my heart breaks for your crayon incident. I too pray that my boys' friends are welcome here, knowing as you do that some require a little more grace than others!

Linda Vujnov said...

Although my mom would say that I complain often when the entire neighborhood is over our house, eating our snacks, and drinking our juice bags, but truly, I would rather have everyone here than any where else.

Melanie said...

That was a wonderful post. Some kids do require more patience, but your story points how very vividly what happens in our childhood can stay with us the rest of our life and I for one want to be a positive memory in the childrens' lives who visit our home.

My cup runneth over... said...

My heart broke when I read your post. Couldn't agree more with Melanie's comment above. Lord, help us to remember the power behind our words and actions to our kids (and their friends), and may we show an extra measure of grace when we need to.

Blessings,
Tracy

Sarah said...

Really beautifully written! It makes me sad to think about what life must have been like for your little neighbor boy, with a dad like that. And, a great reminder for me...my 5 year old is having a friend over tomorrow! I'm determined to make this the "best place to be" so that they want to hang out here when they're older...much easier for me to keep tabs that way. Thank you!

Joy @ Joy in the Journey said...

How sad to think of that poor man who treated you unkindly. What a prison he must live in.
Thanks for sharing this story, and for the encouragement!!
Blessings,
Joy

Tiffany Stuart said...

Like what I see here. Your descripion sidebar. Creative..

Darlene said...

Thanks for sharing your story ...
I pray that when small children visit our home that they remember love and fun. It is easy sometimes to forget that not everyone knows how to do things and we should try to teach with a kind word oppose to wrath.
Great post!

Jessica Morris said...

Ohhh - I wanted to cry!! What a horrible memory, and yet, in a way, a great one as you have a very clear image of what you do not want to be!!

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

I am surprised that that father actually spanked you. And then the mother shuffling you off quickly. Makes me worry what that father did to his own kids in private.

I also am happy to have the friends here rather than have my kids in environments I can't monitor. I know that I may lose it and scream (even over admittedly dumb stuff, work in progress here), but I also know I'll leave the room before hurting physically.

Also think that if there's anything we don't want the kids to break, it should be put away where they can't reach. And crayons were made to be broken.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

What a powerful story! And it is so interesting that you remember the smells and all the details, but not the pain. I too have similar memories of my childhood which brings me to my own children and what they will remember.

We just finished a class at our church on the book, "Shepherding a Child's Heart". I read the book ten years ago, but I have found myself again re-evaluating what truly is important and what are truly heart matters.

Tori Shelton said...

thank you for finding me! i love your blog as well and look forward to coming back to read more of your insightful, honest posts. you are a very gifted writer.

Morning Rose said...

Thanks for sharing your heart on your blog and for visiting mine. Your post reminds us how precious children really are.

Sheila said...

Isn't it amazing how these shameful events that happen when we're young stay with us?

I would hate to think that I ever caused a neighbour child pain. Hang out over here! I want to be a safe place, too.

Thanks for making me think! I've got kids over right now. Maybe I'd better go downstairs and make them a snack...

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

Elaine A. said...

You are so eloquent. This post is so well written.

I would have been totally crushed if that man had spanked me. And over crayons no less. PUH-LEASE!!

Thanks for promoting kindness to our children...

DKay said...

Oh my - I can only imagine how that day felt to you. How awful. You are such a great writer. Thank you so much for sharing your past. It is so evident that all we have experienced in the past is what shapes is into what we are today. Hugs and Kisses to you all!!

Gretchen said...

When is it that we start treating children as pains in the neck? I remember my "crayon" incidents, too. Mine was with a twinkie. Ever the scientist, I wanted to see what happened when I squeezed the guts out. Bad move on my part, I guess. After the divorce, my mom bought me a box of twinkies to squeeze away.

Thanks for a reminder that those little minds and sticky fingers are our future and we have a heavy responsibility to love, love, love them.

Mycrazylife said...

What a powerful post this is. You have really touched me with this story and I am heartbroken for the child that endured such cruelty.

As I sat here reading, I very clearly remembered an incident of my own. I was in first grade and visiting a friends house. Her mother was getting us ready to go outside and I accidentally stepped on her winter coat. Her mother yelled at me very harshly and brought me to tears. I could feel that large lump growing in my throat.

After years of verbal abuse from my father and other people in my life, that incident on my friend's stairs is more clear and fresh to me now, than all the other abuses later in my life.

Thanks so much for sharing this. It meant a lot.

Julie said...

Your writing is so beautiful, so stirring to the heart.

You did not deserve to be treated like that. It was wrong. You did nothing wrong. I am so sorry that the little you got hurt like that.

I wish I could say that I was always a cheerful greeter to my children's neighborhood friends, but some days it's all I could do to fake a smile and keep my cool, but I try. It's especially hard when you see the world's influence coming into your door.

But those are the ones Jesus went to right?

Thanks for sharing your heart and stopping by my blog.

Julie

GrandCanyonMom said...

Just read this one too. Great post and well said. I can't imagine the odacity to spank someone else's child- OVER CRAYONS, no less!

I had a similar incident. I was tickled and I accidently kicked someone's ankle who had broken it in years past. I was slapped for my offense!

He was in chronic pain with it and had pins put in during surgery. He was an uncle that I still love dearly to this day. I hated that day! I was crushed.

Thank you for this post. It made me sad, but it was good. I'm glad you wrote it!
Jaime

Mari said...

Hospitality is my job, but I tend to see it as an outward thing and the Lord is teaching me it's an at home thing first. Even typing that I'm reminded that hospitality is "kindess to a stranger", but what about when I'm kinder to a stranger than to my husband or children...ouch!

Angela said...

That's an excellent point, Mari

Jenn said...

Wow. I can't believe someone would do that over crayons. And to someone else's child! I'm so sorry you had to experience that.

Grace said...

Just stopped by your site. Thank you for sharing this memory. Little people are people with complete brains and all five senses....and more!

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