Friday, July 9, 2010

Kids and Living Lessons

So, yesterday, returning from a work-related errand, I walk in the door of the Club and am met with an ongoing girl-drama saga: a feud between two sets of sisters who live on the same street, attend the same school, and bring their mess to the same Club.

This time, there are threats -- "I'm gonna bring my momma here, and she's gonna beat you into the ground" -- and the usual name-calling, foul-language, biting, shoving, scratching. And then, when confronted with overwhelming evidence and witnesses, one of the main perpetrators gives me a wide-eyed look and swears (there are actual tears in her eyes) that she's never done anything to anyone.

Awww. Feel the sincerity.

Well, I've had as much sincerity as I can stand, so there's some discipline meted out, as well as some mercy, and I hope -- but don't really expect -- that little bit of mercy to be appreciated.

Not even an hour later, one of the four girls is back: after hearing the consequences of future misdeeds, and knowing she will have used up all her chances, all the available mercy, she has gone right out and done it all again. This time, she receives the full penalty.

Reminds me of the man in the parable told by Jesus: a man whose unpayable debt to the king is forgiven immediately goes out and shows no mercy to another man who owes a paltry amount. There is no gratitude for the grace that has been extended.

How many times have I forgotten how much I owe? How much thanks is due to Him and to others?

Then, this morning, there's a wail of despair and I come out of my office to see a boy standing at the front desk and gripping the edges of the counter, his head thrown back, his eyes closed in a face contorted with crying. Upon examination, he has no visible wounds, nothing's bleeding or broken. When he can speak, he hiccups and wails the words, "I feeelll! And Sebastian fell on top of meeeee!"

I press a fist to my mouth and endeavor to look as concerned as possible.

It doesn't help that his sister is openly smiling.

Later, as he's led back to the gym, I call after him, "Tommy, I feel your pain."

His sister turns to me, laughing, and says, "Maybe Sebastian was really heavy today."

And maybe Tommy was more embarrassed than hurt.

So, you may ask, what's the life lesson here, Keanan?

Maybe it's not as bad as it feels.

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