Last spring, my eldest son was relating a story to me about an incident that happened at the pool where he worked.
An overwhelmed mother spotted him watching her as she dealt with a screaming child who had a tiny little boo boo. My son explained that when she looked up and noticed him, he had a great big smile on his face…she was not amused.
When his class finished, he made his way over to the mother gave her this explanation,
“Hi Ma’am, I just wanted to let you know that when you saw me smiling, I wasn’t laughing at you.
When I was a little boy, I did not deal well with pain – at all! I was so easily upset by discomfort, I ended up on an IV because I would not swallow the nasty tasting medicine necessary when I got sick. My mum spent two weeks going back and forth to the hospital to get me treatments that could have happened at home within a week.
My whole family teases me about my lack of ability to fly – no matter how hard I flapped my hands. Things that seemed little to others, to me elicited the response, ‘It hurts too much!’.
Seeing your little boy made me smile because he reminded me so much of me.”
My son said that at the end of the conversation, she had gone from totally deflated to smiling herself. She confessed that she found it frustrating.
We have another son who can endure phenomenal amounts of physical punishment and doesn’t utter a peep. When he does complain of pain we take him very seriously.
|(fell off bunk, hit drawer handle, landed on floor)|
|Look at me, Mum!|
Our girls are a mix. Some are real troopers and some need a lot of cuddling. Every child is different.
I share this story because I want to encourage you to step back and look past the hystrionics of the moment and look deeper into your child. What are their actions really telling you about them?
|(ran barefoot over hot asphalt)|
In the heat of the moment, it is easy to miss what is going on. Our girls all cry but the stimuli for their tears are very different. One is driven by physical hurts (big and very small) and the other two by emotional hurts: one insults/meanness/rejection/hormones: the other by anger/frustration/being left out. They all cry when they are over tired.
By taking the time to look into the tears, I learn more about who my children are, what makes them special and what each one needs from me.
The Psalms are full of God’s children crying out to Him. They cry in fear, pain, humility, rejection, desperation and repentance.
O LORD, God of my salvation,
when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.
Ultimately, they are crying out to be heard. Even though things seem awful at the time, they know that God is listening.
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
The next time your child is crying and you just can’t figure it out, picture them at 18, flapping their hands and crying out, “It hurts too much!”. If the image doesn’t bring a chuckle, at least it will give you a moment to gather yourself together and help you look deeper into the special thing your child needs from you: your love.