You’re Braver than You Believe
“But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” – Luke 6: 27 (NRSV)
There are always bullies, I think as I look at the two preschoolers. Maybe one of these kids will be bullied; maybe one will bully someone else. Certainly, both will choose to challenge a bullying situation or stay quiet. They will learn soon about the concept “enemy.”
They will be taught to avoid enemies. They will be taught to fight enemies. But love enemies?
I’m babysitting the little boys, so I ask, “What programs can they watch? On what kind of screen? For how long?” That question ranks in babysitting importance alongside tree-nut allergies, pacifiers at naptime, and what-should-happen-when-they-hit-each-other.
When the answer comes back “Paw Patrol,” “Stinky and Dirty,” or “Winnie the Pooh,” I ask why, because it seems a really random selection.
Mom replies, “No enemies.” I still look blank, because she continues, car keys in hand. “I want my kids to see things that inspire them to be courageous and resourceful without fighting villains. They’re not too young to want to be rescuers and learn it’s okay to be rescued, but not because there’s some evil Skeletor, Scar, Ursula, or even Boris Badenov.”
It makes me think.
It will be easier to help them (and me, too) love enemies, the longer I hold off labeling the-people-who-do-bad-things-to-me-and-those-I-love as aliens rather than people. Reading or watching stories about helping in tough situations that are villain-free but involve rocks blocking a highway, a chicken stranded on a water tower, or a birthday forgotten, builds resilience and problem-solving.
“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” (AA Milne)
God, teach me the kindness of Piglet and help me look at my world with the “what if” ingenuity of a cartoon garbage truck, so that I can choose love and helping.
Maren Tirabassi contributed this devotional (edited for length) to Hard and Holy: Devotions for Parenting, a collection of spiritual encouragement and practical solidarity and messy joy. Order Hard and Holy here.