"I don't like her; she's rude and ignores me!"
These words came out of my child's mouth one day and while, I agreed wholeheartedly, and it really hurt me to see my child feeling hurt and left out, I made a point of suggesting that there was a reason behind the rudeness. I raised a number of reasons why this person may have this type of personality. I suggested that they approach the situation by praying and asking God to give them a love for this person and to see things from their perspective.
It's hard to navigate the muddy waters of parenting. My mother bear instincts come roaring to the surface when I see my children being mistreated, ignored or hurt. I want to lash out at the one who is hurting them and let them know just what I think about it. I want to go straight to the parents and let them know exactly what I think!
But, first and foremost, I am a follower of Christ. My children, if they too are believers, need to see people through God's eyes. They are in the process of learning how to respond in a Godly manner to these situations. But if I never teach them to look at a situation from a different perspective they won't learn.
If our children have an issue with someone and our response is always to affirm our child's point of view or to keep our children away from someone, I'm not sure we are teaching them how to live as Christ followers in a world of difficult people. If I continually allow my child to spout off exactly what they think about someone, how am I teaching them not to gossip or backbite or to learn love?
As they grow and go to college or into the workforce, they will have to learn how to deal with these difficult personalities with kindness, with compassion and with humility. How will anyone every come to know the Lord if we are or are raising adults who are prickly, self-centered, and everything has to be about "ME?"
Let's work at raising children who know how to treat others as Christ would. Talk through situations with your son or daughter. Pray not just for them, but with them about a situation. Help them come up with ways to reach out to the person who is not always the nicest. They don't have to be best friends, but as believers, we are to treat others with love.
And if you see your child being the one who is not so nice, don't be afraid to challenge and correct them. Step in and remind them of how the other person may feel. Also, check yourself. Are *YOU* modeling the right behavior? Do they see you respond in a Godly manner to difficult situations?
I can't make another child be kind to my son or daughter, but I can continue to encourage my child to respond in a Godly way. Let's raise children who actually are beginning to develop the fruit of the Spirit and growing towards maturity.