She picked on my kid! I couldn’t believe it. A real, live grown-up attempted to shame and humiliate my child in front of his teammates and a roomful of strangers.
And I wasn’t there to protect him.
Oh, I heard about it all right. From my kids. From other kids. From other parents. The whole world was indignant about the way my son was treated by this woman.
As the story was first being told to me by my son, I, quite frankly, suspected that the woman was justified in her frustration. I know he can be impulsive. Compulsive. Stubborn. I questioned him. He assured me of his innocence, and continued his account.
She harped on him. She nagged at him. She belittled him and accused him. She, almost a complete stranger to us and a woman in authority over my child, attempted to shame him in front of a roomful of people. Then, when the practice was over, she pulled him aside and told him that it she did it for his own good.
Are you kidding me?! I’ve played enough sports to know that there are all kinds of coaches. The ones I most warmly remember are not the ones who repeatedly griped at me and attempted to publicly humiliate me. No matter what kinds of results their tactics earned on the field, they did not earn respect in my heart.
So. What does a momma do? Well, I’ve been thinking about this. The way I see it, I’ve got two options. I can either ignore this situation and pretend it never happened OR this gal and I can have a smackdown.
She obviously needs to be taken down a notch or two! She needs to know what it feels like to be in a new situation and made to feel awkward and uncomfortable! She needs to experience the same kind of shame and humiliation that she tried to impose on my son. She needs to reap what she’s sown, get what she’s given, take what she’s dished out! She was an adult, placed in a privileged position of authority over tender, impressionable children! She had no right to do what she did! She needs to pay for her actions!
Doesn’t that sound fun?
Actually, part of me feels this way. There’s a momma bear in me that would love to go toe-to-toe with this woman. What she did was wrong. But, as my mother often said, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Let me tell you about my son’s reaction. He was embarrassed, yes. He was annoyed and frustrated. He felt singled out and picked on and kind of confused as to why she was doing what she did. But. He did not feel shame. He did not feel humiliation. He was in a new situation and made some mistakes. He did his best. He took responsibility for his actions. He knew that he had not done anything shameful and therefore refused to bear the burden of shame.
What a lesson there is for me in this! Just like this woman made the choice to leave a legacy of shame to my son, he chose to not walk in it. The mistakes he made were not worth the debt he was asked to pay.
What legacy are you walking in today? One of shame that someone else chose for you? Or, maybe you chose it for yourself with one bad decision after another. You feel that you’ve earned your shame by doing some shameful things, and you’ve determined to live up to your neck in it.
Sweet friend, there’s another option. It is grace. It is a path that starts at the feet of Jesus, and it is for every person, regardless of where we have been or what we have done. It is a path of forgiveness and peace, and it is yours for the choosing. Living our lives in shame is never for our own good.
If you ever want to know exactly what I’m talking about, just ask. My heart would love to tell you more.