“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is incredibly powerful. The ultimate desire is to teach my children to value and honour the gift in others, the life that others have lived. This requires a laying down of hurts or failed expectations that I have for myself or others, and walking out in understanding and compassion. Heaven knows that they must have compassion for me. So, who am I to judge someone for failing to meet my expectations when for sure I have failed to meet someone’s at some time in my life. This is sobering.
But, as much as I can, I live the life I want my children and those I lead to aspire to. When my children were young, they saw things but their grace and forgiveness level was enormous. But, as they get older, their opinions about how I live become more developed. They see how much time I spend away from the home supporting others. They see how often I have my device in my hand. They see the way I touch and care for Ali. They see the way I speak of others when they’re not around.
That’s a perfect example – a community is built not through disharmony and strife but through acceptance and encouragement. I am grateful that Ali and I have worked incredibly hard to speak well of others around our children – even when we struggle with their actions or intentions. We may cry in private, but in public we honour the person. We want our children to make their own judgments about people, and not be held to their parent’s feelings or emotions. We can do more damage to their development. If they take on any of our hurts or failed expectations, then we are asking them to make mature decisions to walk that out as we would as adults. That’s not fair to their psyches. They are capable of a lot, but having to walk out our issues with people is not one we should put on them.
Thus, my children have wonderful relationships with people young and old. They speak well of others, and if there is offense or misunderstanding, they assume the best of the person and come to us to understand why something went south. And, as safe as we can be, we walk them through their emotions and help them recognize that each of us has an opportunity to bless and cover other people’s weaknesses. That doesn’t mean we excuse them, or don’t put up boundaries when we need to, but it does mean that when something does go wrong, we recognize that this is where humanity meets grace.
So, as I walk through my day to day, I recognize that I have four little people in my home, and countless others around me who are watching me as I act and react. It’s not to put pressure on me to be perfect. No, not at all. But what it does remind me of is the desire to “shine like stars in the universe.”