My 6-year old son had a rough week in school last week. A couple of visits to the principals office for different reasons. Excessive “armpit farting” one day (happens to be the first day he learned how to do it, so that was forgivable), then punching and pushing on the playground another day (not so forgivable). During his weekend “consequences” (and they have been plentiful), he looked at me and said:
“Dad, look at me. Now look at the world. What’s different?”
Wow, what a great way to start a story, he certainly had my attention… and I was stumped where he was going with this!
“I don’t know Michael, what’s different?”
“The rest of the world is happy, and I am sad. You don’t care about my feelings.”
Ha! Just when I thought he was going to blow me away with something, I was relieved to find he hasn’t outwitted me YET.
I proceeded to explain to him that at the moment I was not concerned about his feelings. I told him that I am FIRST concerned about his actions, THEN his feelings. That as his parents, we must deal with one before the other.
This morning, I think that applies to all of us. It doesn’t really matter if we feel like we’re doing great things in the world, like we’re unstoppable, like we’re amazingly generous, loving, intentional. What matters most are our actions first, and our feelings second.
And yes, it seemed to click with Michael too.