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Sunday, December 2, 2012

A case of misplaced priorities

This incident gave me a lot to think about.  What do you think?

Two school age children (a boy and a girl) wanted to do something to make their mother happy.  She had been under a lot of stress lately and the children noticed her sadness.  They decided to surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  While she was gone on an errand, they picked an armful of wildflowers and arranged them in their mother's favorite heirloom vase that had belonged to their grandmother.  When their mother came home, they went into the kitchen, picked up the heavy vase and proceeded to take it to their mother in the living room.  Unfortunately, the vase was both heavy and slippery and it slipped from the little girl's hands and shattered all over the floor.  What would you do if you were the mom?  What did the mom do?

The mom gave in to her first instinct and berated the children harshly for destroying something that was very valuable to her.  She demanded that they pay her for the damage to her vase to teach them that if you break something, you have to pay for it.  The children were heartbroken as they gathered all their saved money to give to their irate mother. 

Let's talk about this story.   Did the kids do something malicious?  Did they intentionally break the vase?   Were they roughhousing, causing the vase to be knocked over and broken?  The answer of course is no.  What happened was a complete, unfortunate accident.  They love their mother and were trying to please her.  They didn't mean to break anything.

Sure, the heirloom vase is broken beyond repair but what is more important, a broken vase or a broken spirit?  A vase is an has no feelings.  It may represent a dearly departed loved one but it isn't that person.  A child is of far more infinite worth.  Their spirits are young and tender.  Surely a mother can realize the difference.  In the above story, a mother's opportunity to grow closer to her children was lost in the emotion of misplaced priorities.

We are the parents here.  We should be the mature ones.  Hopefully we will treat our children with love and understanding and build them up rather than tear them down.


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