Monday, August 3, 2015

Playground Lesson #101

The other day my kids were playing on a playground when I had a revelation. My very two-year old daughter, Quinn, is struggling with sharing. Everything is hers. Always saying the word, "NO!" It all comes with the territory of terrible two's that I have been through with the boys in years past. But it is always embarrassing when it comes out in full force out in public!

It had been a long week of crazy in our home, so I figured a playground was a safe, energy-releasing place for my three kiddos to enjoy. Little did I know, but my Quinn, decided the big slide was hers. Giving mean eyes, and little threats to any other child who wanted to play on it too! As soon as another child would come close to it she would chant, "My slide" and scare away the others. Each time I corrected her and made sure to remind my daughter of the importance of sharing. Upon one of her struggles with this, an older gentleman came up and scolded my daughter because his grand-daughter was wanting to slide down. At first I was embarrassed and then bothered that he got so upset  with my two-year old, that I was correcting continuously while he observed it all. 

It made me think. Isn't it so easy to judge other parents as their kids are struggling? Especially on a playground. A public place, where kids regularly test the limits to see if you will really follow through with consequences that are a norm at home. It's easy to wag our finger at another making us feel better about our own. But when we wave our finger in judgement at another, there are three more pointing back in our own direction. It's so much easier to judge others on their parenting than to have to look at our own reflection, right?

3 Lessons learned from this park experience:
1. Don't judge parents, but pray for them when their child struggling. 
    Instead of giving judgmental looks, give a smile letting them know you have been
    there and understand. 

2. Give instruction to your children before you enter the playground. I typically do this when 
    we are still buckled into our seats and all attention can be given. Allow the consequences to be 
    known before they head out to play. In some circles, this is called Pre-Activity.

3. Pray for ministry opportunities to be weaved throughout your day. Ask God to open your eyes 
    to those lessons HE wants to teach you through others you will interact with each day. Allow your 
    heart to be prepared to be HIS hands and feet on the playground, in the school drop off line, or with
    the cashier at the grocery store. 

I realized that if I had prayed that day for my "mission field" my heart might not have felt so offended at the comments made about my daughter in these growing years. My heart would have been softened and open to conversation with those I came into contact with on the playground. 

Is it easy for you to judge others? 

Do you find yourself looking for faults in other mommy's to feel better about your own parenting?

Have you ever thought about your "mission field?" 

Allow Him to use you today for His glory. Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and He will weave opportunities for grace and love into the lives you interact with each day. 

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