Somebody asked how my son was doing yesterday.
I was at church, but instead of having service, we were all making plarn for the sleeping mats for the homeless.
She was referring to how he was doing since being accused by his brothers of setting fire to our house.
The day before he had placed a wet stuff animal in our dryer, turned it on and after a few minutes noticed smoke. During the chaos that followed, he was scolded, shamed, berated, belittled and it was made clear it was his fault.
By the time I had arrived on site he was a walking puddle of guilt and remorse. He sobbed with apologies. He had confessed what he had done and he was so, so sorry.
I held my baby and tried to comfort him and tell him it wasn’t his fault, but in the background, insults from his older brothers flew. He was sure that this was his fault.
Oh my gosh, what a mix match of emotions I had that day. I was so proud that everyone made it out safely and worked together, but here I stand after being so proud, hearing how horrible my other sons were treating their little brother. I was way beyond disappointed.
I was disgusted.
I told my friend he was doing better…as long as no one brings it up. It was noted as to how little compassion was shown that day.
Yep. That’s pretty typical of my boys, some of my boys, but especially two of my boys.
I don’t know why. I mean, I try to teach them about compassion, about empathy, about being kind, being generous, looking out for each other. I don’t know what went wrong. I don’t know if it’s the illness they struggle with or outside influences. I do share them, but I don’t know.
I mean, even as I was discussing them, I was at church making mats for the homeless, and even though I had every kid that weekend, only my daughter was there with me.
In the past I have tried to force them to be compassionate. I’ve forced them to serve, to help out, to think of others and all it has done is make me turn into a person I don’t like to be and make others feel uncomfortable. So I don’t do it anymore.
Maybe I’m wrong for doing it, or not doing it, but I keep thinking about what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” I’m sure he wasn’t just talking about money.
I’ve stopped making the older kids go to church. Stopped demanding that they serve with me. Stopped insisting they be someone they’re not.
It makes me really sad though. It breaks my heart. My prayer is one day it will click. One day they will lift their head above water just long enough to see there are others out there, dog paddling and struggling with keeping their head above water too.