The Impenetrable Shield of Protection

Bear with me as I continue to process our transition to a two-day-a-week school and seem to only share the yucky things. There are actually a LOT of good things and, overall, it continues to feel like a good fit for our family. But nothing is perfect, darn it.

When I picked up the girls today, Maddie greeted me at the door with tears in her eyes. “I got teased today,” she said. I knew it wasn’t an ordinary tease as she can handle fun joking pretty well. I pulled her aside and asked her what happened. She said that one of the girls noticed she was in the lower level math (with Chloe) and that Chloe finished before her. The girl thought it funny that the younger sister was faster than the older sister and made fun of Maddie for it.

I asked her how the teasing made her feel and she said it made her feel sad and hurt. I asked her how she responded to the teasing and she said she didn’t really do anything, just finished her math. I told her I was proud of her for working hard at it and trying to give it her very best, as that was what mattered and not someone else’s opinion of her ability. I hugged her tightly and secretly plotted how I could intervene in the classroom and make that other kid really, really sorry for what she did.

As we got in the car and drove home, I reminded Maddie of the principles we’ve been learning in the Young Peacemaker when someone begins a conflict with us. “So basically,” I said, “you have three choices: you can ignore it, pretend it never happened, and hope it just goes away. Do you remember what that was called? Escape, or peace-faking. You can get mad and argue with her over it. Remember that one? Attack, or peace-breaking. Or you can try to work it out by talking to her calmly about how her words made you feel. That one is called peace-making. It is the hardest of the three to do, but it is the most important one to try. Then, if she doesn’t respond to your attempt to make it right, you can get help from your teacher or from me.”

Who needed to hear that the most? Me. My job isn’t to step in at first offense and mama-bear every one around until all problems are solved, though I so desperately want to be able to provide that impenetrable shield of protection for her. I simply can’t. I can walk her through it, hug her through it, pray her through it, and if needed, get her through it if I do need to step in later in the proper order of things.

But I need to let her wrestle with this a bit first, and that’s a very hard place to be. For both of us.