Some months ago, I heard from a reliable source that someone had said something mean about one of my sons.
Now, I don’t really get worked up over every little thing. I know my boys. I know they’re not angels. So I tend to either laugh about things, or apologize and talk to the offending child about what happened.
But this bit of news was uncalled for. Worse, it was mean-spirited and unexpected. And I couldn’t laugh it away.
So then, I went through some days of processing. I had no doubts about what I wanted to do.
I wanted to confront the person. Like the roaring tiger mom I am inside.
I wanted to cut the person off, without a word.
I also wanted to reveal something worse about the person, telling a few people whom I knew would pass it around.
But the more I schemed, the worse I felt. Who was I kidding? Plotting revenge, even when I believed I was justified, did not make me feel better. Plus, I’ve been trying to act more mature. That meant not giving in to whatever I wanted to do at any given moment without weighing the consequences.
So instead, I chose to vent to a few friends I trust.
I chose to argue with the voices in my head.
And then I took a long, hard look at the slighted child. And found myself thanking God for all that he is to this world, and to me.
Sometimes I think my children don’t need me fighting their battles for them as much as they need me to show them how to fight their own battles. This was made clear to me after I spoke to the wronged son about what was said about him.
The boy, after listening quietly, said, “Well, is what she said true?”
I replied, “You know it isn’t.”
He shook his head, “Huh. I wonder why she said that. Meh. I guess she wasn’t in a good mood at the time. So what will you do, Mommy?”
And I said, “Nothing. As long as you know it isn’t true, and you’re okay with it.”
And he said, “Whatever. I’m not worried about it.”
I guess I was reminded, once again, that there are battles worth fighting, and then there are those that are merely irritants, with no real victories waiting at the end. When I fight a battle that’s worth it, I grow as a person, whether I win it or not. But when I give in when I should walk away, I shrivel up inside the second I raise a fist.
One mark of wisdom is knowing when to stand your ground and when to turn the other cheek. I’m a long way off. For me, it’s mostly trial and error. But I’m getting better at it. Yes, there is hope.