“It doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it just means that you were wrong.”
Alongside toddlerhood is its close relationship to discipline. The proverbial saying goes, “spare the rod, spoil the child.” As Emma emerges from early toddlerhood, I find myself having to correct a lot of her naughtiness; most times, it spurs from a lack of etiquette experience and really sheds light on her innocence. Then there are times when she’s downright mean and she absolutely knows her unacceptable behavior, yet she does it anyway.
When I correct her, she does one of two things. Either she humbly apologizes or she goes on a mad soliloquy with childish verbiage and rambling explanations, justifications, intangible logic, and pure emotion, sometimes even claiming I’m in the wrong. Then after some volleying, she’ll cry and ask me if I still love her. Despite even at the angriest moments I have with her, I can never say I hate her. I end up reminding her, “it doesn’t mean I don’t love you; it just means that you were wrong.”
We don’t like being corrected. I know oftentimes I don’t like it either; but let’s face it, if it’s wise advice, it’s wise advice. Don’t we have the discernment to tell whether something is constructive or malicious or have we grown too sensitive for any degree of honesty?
When I was in college, I was truly truly blessed with close friends. One day, in my days of too much tongue and cheek, I made a cheeky yet disgraceful gesture in sign language, implying that my friend couldn’t understand me. While eating with a large group of friends, that friend bluntly pointed out that what I did was ‘not cool’ and subtly motioned to me that one of our friends present knew someone who spoke in sign. My heart sunk to the VERY bottom, because even without the slightest intention to hurt her, I indirectly did. My brashness to seem comically acceptable still haunts me til now. She’s probably forgotten about it, having shyly dismissed my ignorance, but I don’t allow myself to.
I could have justified it. I could have embraced a moment of wit and experience, but looking back, I was in complete admittance that I was wrong. I know there are things you cannot help feel, but there are things you can help say, or do, or how you say and do it. You just never know if someone is, or knows someone, who you are describing, that it becomes offensive to them. I know we don’t hold the power of perfection, but we hold a heart of remission.
I do not, at all, blame my dear friend of 10 years, for correcting me. I’m actually glad he didn’t laugh along. People don’t change that much, and I know had I done it 5 years prior to the incident or 5 years in the future, he’d say the same thing. Looking back, I think I would have been disappointed had he not pivoted my perception. I know he meant well, to me, and to my friend.
I retell this story A LOT to my youth group, hoping they never have to have such a moment of regret or opportunity to hurt.
I hope this blog finds its way to a fruitful understanding rather than have pride be its keeper.