Maybe it is because my kids are passed this stage, maybe it is because I am older and “wiser,” or maybe it is just because I pay attention more, but I have been exposed to a lot of parents/children at our local stores yelling at their kids. Now, it simply isn’t “Hey- don’t do that!” It is more of a “If you don’t stop that I am going to beat your butt……” It doesn’t matter where we are, what part of town I am in, or even what the supposed socio-economic status I can glean from just glancing at someone, which usually doesn’t tell you much anyway. The kids are normally just wanting attention and want the adult in their life to reply to their first question. Or, it may be that they have succeeded before in their 25th whine and scream giving them the toy they want. Whatever it may be, it breaks my heart to hear moms and dads screaming and yelling at their kids telling them how they are going to “beat their butt” or “spank you so you won’t forget.” What is the point? Are they really going to do that when they get home? And honestly, does a 2 year old throwing a tantrum understand the ramifications of “beat your butt?”
Now, I am the first to admit I have been so so close to losing it in a store, especially when the girls were little. But, the words that I hear said now never entered my thoughts. Why? Because of the fear of one wrong person hearing me say spank and then having to justify to someone any type of discipline we have had to use on our kids. And, because of the responsibility I have been given to raise these children in a Godly home. Certainly, beating and “not forgetting it” are not words that are spoken in love with the intent to help our child along this journey of life. I have no idea the life situations of these moms and dads I hear, and I imagine they are possibly in a hard situation. And, maybe they don’t mean what they are saying – maybe it is what they always heard as a kid and it doesn’t sound as bad as it is, and I am sure they do love their children. Even so, as a stranger journeying through life with them, it just breaks my heart.
So, each time I hear these frustrated and angry people at the store, in the park, or in the parking lot, I say a prayer. A prayer of protection for that child, and a prayer of patience and a saving knowledge of our Lord in which they will truly see the patience of our God who puts up with us daily, knows our deepest sin, yet still sent his own Son to die for us so that we could have a relationship with Him. If that doesn’t put life in perspective, I am not sure what will….