I had a chance to speak some new truth into my son the other night. About an hour after he went to bed, he woke up crying and I went to see him. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he didn’t like “those boys at school pulling on my shirt.” I knew what he was talking about because it coincided with other events of that day that resulted in a trip to the “principal,” but that’s not the story.
He was mad – the kind of mad that makes you cry and hit and scream…all at the same time. In that state, he told me he wasn’t “going back to that school – NEVER!” and continued to sob. I snatched him up and tried my best to console him. This is the first time that I felt like he was being picked on by other kids. It obviously made him mad and it certainly made me mad. It’s my boy they’re jerking around, and what’s worse, it has caused him to be afraid.
Fear is tricky and very powerful. Even more so in the mind of a 4yr old. So I did what any other dad would do, I told him that I had his back and that Manatt boys don’t run away from our problems, we use our head and our heart to overcome it. Low and behold, it seemed to work. Cool – that was just a shot in the dark. It was true, but I didn’t expect that to actually assuage his fears.
This taught me two things:
- My son looks up to me and believes that I can help him
- This parenting thing is starting to click for me…a little…ever so slightly
Today was the day he went back to school (only half days, one day a week) and it went great. My wife was able to talk to his teachers and share our concerns about an apparent breakdown in supervision and asked for a higher degree of sensitivity for the way the kids “played” with one another. How about some kudos for the wife – she’s getting that parenting thing down too!
All kidding aside, this showed me how important my job is to help prepare my kids to handle situations that scare them and to remind them that mommy and daddy have their backs. I sure am glad that God has my back!