CHILDREN AND THEIR “OH MY GOD. NO!” MOMENTS
by: Rev. Ed Schneider
Children are tremendous gifts waiting to be unwrapped as they journey through life. As for my own children, you all know by now I shamelessly brag on them all the time. Today I want to share with you three short stories about three great kids. Each one eerily had two fundamental things in common — destroying something and prompting the verbal response, “Oh, My God … NO!”
First, let’s start with the oldest sibling in the Schneider clan, Tiffany. Tiffany is now 25, employed with a great job and has completed her master’s degree. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Tiffany is happily married to her college sweetheart. She and her husband serve their local church in Atlanta, GA as youth leaders. She is a real success story and our family is remarkably proud of her. However, even she had an, “Oh, My God … NO!” moment.
Not unlike most 4-year-olds, Tiffany, loved to draw and express her imagination through her massive collection of crayons. She would use those crayons every chance she got. We were living in St. Louis, Mo., at this time in a rather fancy neighborhood and I somehow got the dumb idea it would be a wonderful thing to purchase a $3,000 white ceramic pedestal dining room table.
It was gorgeous.
The base of the table had lots of small indentations within its design. I was sinfully proud of that table. At least I was for the two days I had it before one morning at around 5 a.m. when little miss Tiffany decided it was a good idea to get out of bed, grab her bucket of crayons, place herself directly under the new dining room table and crush every crayon she had directly into each crevice, crease, and indentation that table had. When I awoke a few hours later and saw what she had done — completely ruining our home’s furniture centerpiece —all I could say was, “Oh, My God … NO!”
When I asked her why she would do this, she merely responded, “Doesn’t it look pretty, daddy?”
Then there is our volleyball superstar, Reed. At 16, and 6 foot, 2 inches tall, she is hard to miss in a crowd. She is stunningly beautiful, loving, bright, funny, and a great friend to others. Yet, even she had one of those moments.
When Reed was around 5, her normal seating assignment in her mother’s car was on the passenger side in the back seat. As her mother would drive along, going from place to place, Reed would have countless hours of conversations with imaginary friends who were, according to her imagination, all sitting with her in the back seat. One day, without the knowledge of her mom, a permanent black marker was left within her reach. As her mother was driving, Reed thought it would be a good idea to write her name all over the back of the fabric seat in front of her. I guess she wanted to make it clear to all of her imaginary friends what her name looked like and where her seat assignment was. When her mother finally saw what she had done, all she could say was, “Oh, My God … NO!
Finally, there is what happened just a couple of years ago with our current and last, 5-year-old Immanuel Jaxon Edward Schneider, better known as, Manny. He is without question an awesome little goof-ball who continually gives his parents a huge amount of joy. He is a great kid. As Manny often does, he spends a lot of time with his father. On this particular day he was with me playing on the floor of my office. He was busying himself with his trucks, then his crayons, and after that we sang a number of songs. All things considered, it was a regular day filled with wonderful interactions between father and son.
Slightly before lunch time, Manny decided it was time for a game of “Hide and Seek.” Manny’s concept of the game is he “hides” directly under my desk while I am sitting at it and I pretend not to know where he is. Well, he had been under my desk for about 10 minutes “hiding” and was happy and content. Just a few minutes before the game started I had placed my suit jacket on the back of my desk chair while I was working. I told Manny I was hot.
Remember, he was happy. He was content. He always stayed right under the desk waiting for me to find him. So, I turned my chair around … my suit jacket now facing him while he sat under the desk … so I could get up, walk across the office and retrieve something from the other desk.
I wasn’t gone 40 seconds. Really … not even 40 seconds! As I turned around to head back to my desk, what did I see? Manny had gotten up from under the desk grabbed a pair of scissors from the top of my desk and was standing there cutting away at my coat. For a split second I stood in amazement. Then I yelped like a frightened little girl and screamed, “Oh, My God … NO!”
Needless to say I scared him terribly. There I was standing over an adorable child, who certainly didn’t know any better, with tears rolling down his face. My thoughts were racing through my head. Questions arose like; “Where can I hide the body, because I am going to kill this little maniac?” and “Why are all of my kids a destructive agent of the devil?” And yet, there he was — crying because I scared him. All he knew at that moment was his dad was mad at him and he didn’t know why.
So, I took a deep breath, bent down, took the scissors away from him, held him close and comforted him for a few moments.
After he had calmed down I asked him, “Why did you cut daddy’s coat?” His answer, from his 3-year-old, I-love-my-daddy perspective made perfect sense to him. He told me that since I had gotten hot before — remember he had seen me take off my coat while he was under the desk — he wanted to make my coat cooler. I suppose for him “cooler” meant putting some holes in it.
Beloved, even the best of kids have growing pains and some of those growing pains are so overtly wrong or ridiculous it makes one want to say, “Oh, My God … NO!”
There is no such thing as a kid who is perfect all the time. That is impossible. Our children will make mistakes of judgment. They will make mistakes based on ignorance. They will even make mistakes just because it’s Thursday. The important thing to remember is to ask yourself when it happens, what your response ought to be. It may not be comfortable or even easy, but patience, teaching, and correction are best used together when it comes to helping every child get through the mistakes they will inevitably make. Peace.