We shared Labor Day with family by the pool at my sister’s house. We swam, ate too much, laughed, talked closet planning, politics and owning your own business (since all of us do). We were having a great time, as usual, until this moment. I was watching one of my boys play pretend baseball with a very light, foam water weight, when suddenly, it slipped right out of his hand and into the bedroom window with a loud crash.
Instantly the patio was silent.
But only for a few seconds. Soon, everyone was buzzing around taping, sweeping and picking up. Our biggest concern was keeping little toes out of the glass. Meanwhile, I noticed that said child had become quiet and was just sitting back watching it all happen. I pointed out that we knew it was an accident. I’d actually watched the whole thing go down, but he still needed to apologize, which he did. I also made it clear to my brother-in-law that we’d be paying to fix the window.
Here’s the conundrum, for me.
I want my boys to learn to be responsible for all their behaviors. And at the very same time, I know how hard this one has worked to earn and save his money. It will break my mama heart to take the payment for that window, for something that was so clearly an accident.
That’s where grace comes in.
This experience will be a teacher for us all. I’m responsible, as his mama, to teach him to be responsible. But it doesn’t have to be a pointed finger, full of shame and “you should have known better”. It can be a hug, with understanding eyes and “this is going to hurt a little, but we can do it, together.”
It’s an opportunity for giving and receiving grace.
I get to model for him what it looks like to own my responsibility, even though it hurts, by helping him take his. This experience is a teacher for us all, on taking responsibility for our actions, no matter their intentions.
Of course, it applies to a lot more than broken windows.
Namely, we get a chance to practice this kind of responsibility in our relationships on a daily basis. . . and I have a tough time with it. It’s so hard to take responsibility for hurt that I didn’t mean to cause. But this cracked window is helping me see more clearly how I can own my part with the grace of knowing and accepting (inside myself) that the hurt I caused was never my intention.
I’m hoping it will help you too.
Maybe you need to allow yourself some grace because only you know your heart. And then step up to take responsibility for your part even if (especially if) it caused hurt, unintentionally. Just make sure those two stick together.
Grace and responsibility.
to more love,