My oldest really didn’t like girls very much when he was a young man. Girls were bossy, didn’t like to get dirty, and complained a lot. They didn’t like Legos or cars or dirt, at least the ones he had met. I understood and accepted this, but hoped it would change sometime before he was thirty.
Nathan started Pre-K and really enjoyed it-every day he’d come home and tell me all the great things they got to do. This school was geared towards science and nature, which was right up his alley-all the dirt and bugs and being outside. So I was surprised when I reviewed his six week progress report-everything was stellar except one item: “Does not respect the rights and property of others.” Well, that didn’t sound good-better schedule a parent/teacher conference!
Mrs. Sadler said Nathan did not get along with one particular student-a girl whose name she would not disclose. Huh, a girl-no surprise there! They argued continually and could not get along. “Well,” I asked, “Did this young lady also receive the same mark on her progress report?” Mrs. Sadler said no because it seemed to all be Nathan’s fault. Sigh…time to go home and have a talk with my kid.
We sat down at the table with milk and cookies-always a great way to start a serious conversation. It turned out that the young lady’s name was Addie, and she was very bossy. She constantly told Nathan what to do and how to do it. She complained to Mrs. Sadler when Nathan wouldn’t listen to her. So, Nathan would get tired of Addy’s sass and tell her that she was not the boss of him and to be quiet.
Their relationship continued to spiral downwards, and each progress report had the same note “Does not respect the rights and property of others.” I talked to other parents and discovered Mrs. Sadler had three girls herself and had a reputation for not being good at handling “spirited” boys. Yes, that would be a very nice way of describing my child. It was only Christmas and was already feeling like a very long school year.
I cajoled, I bribed, I threatened-nothing worked. Nathan always promised to try and do better, but every progress report showed a different story. By February I had just given up-he hadn’t been kicked out of the school so I consoled myself that it was all blown out of proportion.
May came and we had to tell Mrs. Sadler where our children were going for kindergarten. Addie came up to me at the End of School party and announced, “I understand Nathan and I will be attending different schools. I wanted to tell you that I was overjoyed to receive this news.” Yes, the child really did talk like this-I am not exaggerating.
Without skipping a beat I replied, “Yes Addie-I think we are all overjoyed that you and Nathan will be attending different schools.” She just stared at me as I turned around and grabbed another cookie. I have to say I can definitely understand why my child did not get along with her.
God always has such a sense of humor! Flash forward six years later and who joins our church? You guessed it-Addie and her family. Addie and Nathan were in the same Sunday School class, but fortunately both had matured enough to ignore each other. We even had a few playdates together, since Nathan and Cameron had friends with sisters about the same age as Addie and her sister. Again, they pretty much ignored each other. But I was glad God had brought Addie and her family back into our lives so that Nathan could see mortal enemies can be downgraded to mildly irritating people in your life. And they are much easier to love.
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