Friday, March 23, 2012

I Just Cannot Understand People Sometimes

I know that there are many different ideas about life, love and religion so I expect to find that diversity is the spice in living.  Yet I am so often baffled at the actions of others who do things that causes a negative impact on others. Once again I have to announce that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and His Father believing in the Holy Trinity.  Not because it is something I must have heard but because as I begin to type my views of the day and the emotions that it has left behind I may need that affirmation to control my tongue and try to imagine WWJD (haven't used that one in a long time).

As I begin one will imagine that I have embellishing on words to hide the true nature of Grace. I will tell you that I am not going to do that. I am going to be 100% about her conduct.  It has been stated before that Grace does not respect individual space well. That remains true but she has made remarkable progress in that area. Still, Grace is energetic, joyful and busts at the seams to show it. Grace is shy and introverted all at the same time.  How can that be?

In general daily life when she is not expecting anyone to be watching her she will break out in a song with me and even dance. If she feels that she may be seen she will not do so and if she realizes that someone is watching us she stops faster than fast.  If she was to stand up to tell her name you could not hear it clearly with a microphone but her daily speech is so loudly presented that we had wondered if she had a hearing deficit. She giggles like all little girls her age. When she is overwhelmed with joy she actually will stiffen her arms to her side and tense up with so much excitement. (I had a son who use to hold his sides really tight and do the same thing).  Although she can be rude to a person it would always be by accident through lack of understanding unless it was her little sister or occasionally her mother.  She has a tender, gentle, loving heart that is deep in her soul. She is vocal. She is vocal. She is vocal. She wants her view to be heard when she is trying to offer it. NO exceptions!  If she has something that is important she will not rest until she has had her say. Not a nasty manner but to be sure she is heard when it is important. I read this as I type this and it sounds like she is a brat. She is far from that!  We have always encouraged her to be heard and speak up for herself. Well, she doesn't do it yet.  She wants to be sure that Kelley, Matt, or myself understand her view she does not ever conduct herself with such confidence in other situations.

The danger of that final sentence is that sometimes she submits too easily to an person of authority and feels like she is a horrible person when they correct her. 

Today it became clear to me in the early morning that there is a person who does not appreciate her for her unique energy.  Several back to back comments directed her way out in the parking lot with an unpleasant tone but a smile on their face. All I could do was to openly reply that Grace is full of energy and excitement for what the day holds.  The girls and I continued to unpack the trunk of the car and carry our items into the church for another day at enrichment program. They waited outside of the doors as directed as we dodge the raindrops so we did not melt on our way in. Deep breath at the door and all reminded it was now time to settle down and go inside. They both immediately complied with my request. 

Later that morning I mentioned to a friend that this adult sure seems to dislike Grace. It is not the first time I felt that way but after the "entitled" verbalization outside I was not certain.  Bite my tongue. Bite my tongue. Why do I permit the passive aggressiveness I come across so often in this environment?  I know that answer. It is because I am not there to get into the petty female games that such conduct presents. I am there for my kiddos to have an enriched experience that is blessed by God.  So when I come across the very specific stereotyped Christina female who uses her words and smiles to manipulate the conversation I tell Satan to step behind me and I rise better to the occasion. God is always working on me.

So back to the impact on others. Today I discovered that Grace was prayed with to encourage a corrective action. I am thrilled that someone would take the time to pray with her. She discussed with me the event however and I was baffled. She left not feeling uplifted but feeling singled out and humiliated yet once again in the class. --OH LORD help me choose my words here.  It seems that it was not this one single event but a habit she has displayed about complaining in the class. WHAT?  I can't imagine that coming from Grace. 

You may ask what she was complaining about? Well, it seems that in her tumbling class she is often physically pushed to stretch those muscles. Her joints are limber but her muscles are indeed tight but also rather short.

She complained about the discomfort of the muscles in her belly. She complained about a muscle hurting when she jumped on one of her feet today as well.

SO now I have to tell you my view.  Pain is given to us by God to tell us to stop before we cause some serious harm to our bodies.  I have heard this type of "complaint" from her in this class before.  It is not a complaint about an action from a teacher or student. It is not a complaint about the enrichment program. It is not a complaint that should effect anyone at all. IF anything it should make the teacher or proctor who is working with her to encourage safety while encouraging duration and trying the skill.

Humiliated again? I said the word again up there. Yes indeed. A couple of weeks ago as Grace prepared for the class I realized she did not wear the correct underpants so they were showing from the bottom of the leotard. I told her when we began the class to pull them high up and try to keep the tard positioned to cover.  So it seems that her panties became a laughing issue. I was talked to about the issue as well and honestly cannot disagree that she needed some shorts but we did not have them when this issue presented itself. I reassured all that we would have shorts in the future BUT the real issue here is not a seven year old girl displaying a corner of her panties. The real issue should have been a cluster of children who felt power in their numbers and a display of nothing short of "mob mentality" .  The actions of those children should have been corrected.

So on now one may ask, "what is your overall point," and I can answer it simple.  Today Grace felt as if she was singled out as other kids say the same thing from time to time when they are trying a skill or stretch. Grace was pulled out of class and prayed with by a person that all children feel is an authority figure. Faith enquired from Grace what she had done wrong to get in trouble. So statistically, ten others children will wonder the same.  Grace was made to feel singled out once again as a "bad girl" (in her words).

We have a family goal to improve Grace's feeling of self worth. If you ever read my first blogs you would know that is the SINGLE reason that her parents took her from the public system.  One teacher and the people of entitlement did a big number on her little tender heart. We are seeing the old Grace but some of it was destroyed and cannot be found. So you bet your britches that I am concerned about others who have contact with her and from there kind heart feel that they are doing her some good but the reality is this. IF,, IF,,,IF,,,this has been an ongoing habit that needed to be addressed then it SHOULD have been addressed to me or Kelley. It was not an infringement that altered the flow of the class.  The teacher of this group has always felt comfortable to discuss any issue with us before.

So what is different?  The difference is one person. The same person that I had said before verbalized across the parking lot to us.  So after the day ended Grace wanted to discuss it. At first she felt as if she was bad and required corrective action. I had to encourage her to stop when pain says stop. She asked me why God made pain. So I gave her an analogy of placing your hand in a flame. It hurts and you pull back really fast. If that did not happen you could be severely injured. The same goes for her developing muscles. When the stretch is painful you are too far. Come back just a bit until you feel a stretch but not the pain. 

Can you imagine if this was not correctly identified by me.  She would stop "complaining:" about the pain and could potentially hurt herself. 

Now my next voice to be heard. I run in a circle of Christians so I know we all pray to the same God and in the name of Jesus Christ.  Pray with me. Pray with my grandchildren. But do not force your idea of what a prayer is  upon us.  As I discussed the situation with the adult it was explained to me what her intervention was about but it was also clear that she insisted Grace say the words out loud. Grace rarely prays out loud. She will tell me what she prayed about but not necessarily the prayer.  She will tell me when I pray that she will follow along in her head. That is fine by me as most of my most earnest prayers are silent ones. But she had to pray with this adult out loud. As it was explained to me I could feel the emotions inside me knowing how hard this had to be for her. But I was reassured that Grace asked her to help her pray out loud.  I believe that if you are going to require a spoken prayer she is going to ask for help. I also know this person honestly felt compelled by God to pray with Grace.  I am thankful that someone cares enough to pray with her. I do wish it would have been a more positive experience for Grace.

Then comes the car ride. The one with tears in her eyes when she can relax. With very little encouragement it is shared with me that it "just did not feel like my prayer" and I shared how special it is to have someone stop and pray with you. I really tried to have her see how wonderfully special she was to have a person to pray with her and to pray out loud with her. Then she lost it. She cried.  She tells me that God hears her best when her prayers come from inside. WOW!  WOW!

So do you see how she thinks?  She seeks approval but everywhere she turns she finds disapproval. 

Solution: She wants me to be in that class with her from beginning to end for the remainder of the semester.  She wants me to be her voice for when something is too painful to continue.  Really Grace?  Yes, no one will listen to her as she is just a little kid.  So what she is telling me is that she does not feel secure and safe. She is telling me that she has lost some trust. I am so glad she can communicate with me so well.  I will be there. I will stay the entire class. I will also stop accepting the passive aggressive communication that is being offered to me and begin telling other my view if it becomes necessary.
Yes, I am a protective grandmother. I cannot trust others to love them and foster them in the same manner as I can. Maybe I have somehow completely misunderstood this but I honestly do not think so.

So Lord, lift me up to be a better person and reveal to me what you want me to do. AMEN.