Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – Plato
We’d just spent 14 of the past 15 waking hours at the baseball fields. The first two games rained out twice due to heavy storms of lightning and rain the previous evening. Instead of playing games over two days, we had one day to play at least 3 games. A lot to ask for of a group of 9 year olds.
Nine and a half hours at the baseball fields on Sunday, and we didn’t sniff victory for one inning. I was deflated. So was my son.
As soon as we arrived home, he began to show his anger. He gave a little to his 4-year old brother. A little to his mom, and a little to me. His final blow up happened when after asking for a friend to come over (it was 5:15 on Sunday afternoon), we told him “no.”
He ran to his room, slammed his door and buried himself under the covers.
I wrestled with what to do. Do I go after him, chastising him for slamming his door and waking up his 4-month old brother? Do I leave him be, and wait till he returns to the land of the living? Or do I do something different?
Wisdom, as I’ve heard it described, is a historical perspective. Thankfully, I chose something different.
I went to him in his room, and told him I was really sorry that he couldn’t have a friend come over. I also told him that I was sad that we’d spent the past 10 hours at the baseball fields and that he only got to bat 3 times, and make a play on 2 balls in the outfield. I told him that I really wish things were different.
I also asked that he not slam his door so as to not wake his sleeping brother. He agreed and buried himself under the covers again. I let him be.
Ten to 15 minutes later, a different child emerged from the shadows. Something had changed for him. He was cheerful, bright, and kind. His anger no longer oozed from his pores, and he smiled as he invited his younger brother to play basketball outside.
I smiled, too. And then it hit me: He just needed to be heard.
My kids, you, me, everyone: We all need to be noticed, seen, and heard. He had just fought a great battle this weekend, and lost. No doubt he was sad, and angry that things didn’t turn out the way he wanted them to. And he did what we humans naturally do when we feel: we hide.
He hid under his covers.
A question for you: What do you hide under/behind?
A challenge for you: When you see hiding: Run to, not from (or against).