Those five little words sting my heart to the core… and while I know that (typically) the next day my door will be full of knocking, today my heart is still aching from those five words I heard last night and again this morning…oh what a way to greet the morning, with Ms. Colleen I do hate you, I am NEVER coming back over! I usually tweet about all the wonderful things happening in and around my house, at kids club and with the kids, but lets be honest there are going to be moments when things aren’t always peaches and cream (oh how I wish they were!) and last night while one of the best ending nights we had in Kids Club happened, there were about 20 minutes when I had to silently pray to God and beg Him to remind me why I am here, had to ask him to hold my tongue and ask Him to keep a smile on my face and joy in my heart, as I heard, “Ms. Colleen I hate you…” followed by…”I’m gonna blow this place up…” and finally ending with… “You don’t do nothin’ for us…” it’s hard to find the silver lining in those moments!
I will be the first to admit I am a horrible disciplinarian! I want to find the good in everyone and give the kids 500 chances before I have to ask them to leave for the night, but when we get to 501 for the SAME thing I have to draw the line, and lets be real who wants to ask a kid to leave church, especially when this is probably one of the safest places for them to be and I truly believe in my heart of hearts that they want to be there for the most part… however on the other hand they need to know that causing disruptions in the middle of Kids Club, hitting, kicking etc is also not acceptable, and sometimes tough love is the best thing for them. So last night as four yes FOUR of my most favorite kids, where creating a disruption I (and our team) tried to remain calm and continue on with our amazing minute-to-win-it fun, and hope that ignoring them would make them stop, but they just continued. Finally I pulled one of them out and asked him why he was here if he didn’t want to listen, didn’t want to cooperate and clearly had no interest in what was going on, on the other side of those doors and his response to me, “You don’t even like me anyway so why do you care…?”
In that moment my brain is thinking one thing, but my heart is thinking, “I care so much, so much that if I didn’t care I would let you beat up your friends, I wouldn’t try and teach you what manners are, why would I let you talk to me like this and continue to love you, and continue to invite you into my home, share my entire life with you…” and I looked up and this boy had tears in his eyes as I looked at him and said, “K the reason I am sending you home tonight is because I do care… I want you to know that I love you but you can’t disrespect me…” I wish it ended there but it didn’t it turned into a 20 minute discussion with all three of the boys about how they hated me, they were never coming back and how I don’t care about them, finally after one last “I love you…but you’re done for tonight” and closing the door they finally realized I was serious.
Last night as I was getting ready for bed I was replaying the entire night in my head, from the excitement of a night where we had a full program from games to music, to a video and discussion and how the kids were engaged in every part of the night, to the moment I was told I was hated and didn’t care, to the moment I found out some of the girls were taking notes on what we were learning so that they could talk about it. It broke my heart I realized these kids don’t understand discipline and as soon as we attempt to disciple them they become 100% defensive automatically assuming I don’t care about them, or that I hate them or I don’t want them to be happy. I made a promise last night to myself and to God that I would be more intentional about letting the kids know that when I discipline them it’s out of love, not out of hate, not out of not caring about them, and not because I want to discipline them, but that it’s because I want them to grow into respectable kids, respectable young adults and respectable adults and that in order for that to happen sometimes there has to be consequences for their actions. I want them to know that when I have to send them home from my house, from Kids Club, from the basketball game in the backyard, or whatever other activity we might be doing that it hurts my heart just as much as it hurts them. Before I went to bed I prayed for each of these “tough boys” because I’ve seen them in their toughest moments, but also in their weak and vulnerable moments with tears in their eyes and I know that they have hearts of gold and good intentions in there somewhere, I asked God to protect them, to open their hearts to what I am trying to teach them, and to allow the love I have for them to carry over into every part of their lives.
Alright there’s a basketball game happening in my backyard right now (you’ll be happy to know that three out of four of those boys are here) that’s begging for me to join, however will you pray with me tonight for our kids, for me, for our team that we would know the best way to teach our kids that their are consequences for their actions, that in the moment of discipline we must continue to love them and that at the end of the day everything we do will be done in complete love?