What lesson or piece of wisdom did you learn from a child this year? Did it surprise you?
I'm also behind on my Christmas shopping, but that's a whole different story.
The reverb11 questions are getting more challenging. I was glad to have a few extra days to think about this prompt, because if I had gone with the first thing that popped into my head it would have been lame and superficial, and wouldn't have honored the little boy who teaches me something every day.
A couple of months ago, my son and I were standing by the front door watching for the school bus. While we peeked sideways through the glass, trying to see the bus coming down the street, my son told me that the day before he had been pushed off the bus seat by a classmate. He was unhurt, but momma bear's spirit rose in me and I started to growl about not letting kids pick on him. I was ready to tell him to punch the offending kid when I caught myself and stopped.
My son is not a fighter. He's not weak (you should see his 8-year-old-rock-climber biceps) but he's sweet and sensitive. He's the kind of boy who finds a bug in the house and, rather than smash it, will give it something to eat and gently take it outside. He reads and draws and creates amazing things with Legos. He hugs. He doesn't push and he doesn't punch.
While I was biting my tongue I realized that by telling my son to do something out of character I was asking him to stop being himself. I'd spent my adolescence and young-adulthood trying to be someone I wasn't and it has taken years of hard work to finally be okay with simply being me. Asking my son to be anything but who he was would start him down the same path of self-loathing that I'd traveled. The best thing I could do was support him as he worked through life's challenges in his own way.
Standing there wearing his coat and backpack, my son looked up at me and in that instant I learned what it means to truly accept someone. As the bus pulled up, yellow lights flashing, I gave him a hug and said, "I love you just the way you are." And I meant it. Then he was out the door and running down the driveway.