The Price Of Grace

Teaching grace to a six year old is hard...

When she was four she had one of those days in school. You know the kind when you’re just done and go about acting a fool. Well for this sweet girl, that included having a full on fit, in front of her teachers and friends. When I picked her up in carpool line and her teacher started to tell me what happened that day, I couldn’t get my eyes off the sweet face in my rearview mirror. I watched as in a split second shame came over the face of the one I love so much. I wanted to yell at her teacher to shut up and take the precious one in my arms but I waited till we pulled over to talk. I told her I loved her and that she was already disciplined in school so I’m not going to add to it at home. I also explained we would have to talk about it later but I’d wait till after nap. Then I pointed out something she had missed: it was the first day the top was off the jeep and she had a choice to let what happened lay in the past so she could enjoy the wind in her hair, or let her mistake define her day and ruin it. Since then I have done my best to teach her grace and the difference between shame and guilt. I know I am a better nanny because of the work of Brene Brown and recommend her Ted Talks and books to anyone, especially those who work with children. One thing I believe is that shame is a terrible motivator. As someone who wore a pair of shame goggles for many years I never want to add to someone else's shame. The hard part is shame can seem effective, at least in the beginning because it shuts people down and their behavior does change. But it does not change anything for the better. But grace is a very hard thing to teach a six year old. We have a lot of conversations about the why’s of what she does and I pretty much only actually discipline for lying, fitting, arguing and disrespecting, unless it’s a repeat offense that needs to be addressed. But the general six year old stuff we try and work through and come up with alternative actions. I really try to have only necessary rules so I can follow through every time.

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