It was the verse of the day on my Bible App, and I had also just read it in a real ‘Bible with paper pages’ that morning. It was rolling around in my head and I thought, “I’m probably going to be needing to apply these words at some point today… And the rest of time…”
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.
And then we walked to the library, but the wrong coat was worn instead of the zip up summer hoodie.
So we heard about how dumb the coat looked.
For 15 minutes we heard about how everybody was looking at him, judging and ridiculing his coat. We heard about how it was the worst thing he had ever owned and how he was going to buy his own coat next year with his own money, even if he had to sell all of his best things to do so.
Throughout this mighty coat rant of 2018, I steadily pushed the stroller with one kid sitting in it, one kid standing on it, and 36 library books residing in the basket underneath. Oh and yes, we were crossing busy streets and trying our best to not run into people or get hit by a bus or two. Those things, we were trying to pay attention to those things.
I wanted to not listen.
I wanted to be quick to speak and quick to become angry.
Because it was ridiculous. Because he was acting ridiculous, because there are kids who don’t even have coats, and judgy people are probably wondering why you’re crying your face off as you’re walking down the sidewalk, not wondering why you picked out a coat like ‘that one’ at the store.
It was a classic scenario of God giving me just what I needed, right before I needed it, and it was my choice to apply it or not.
I bit my tongue, even though I didn’t want to.
I started creating games in my mind like, “what if I won a dollar every time he said the word coat…”
And then just like that, we had reached our destination, and the coat was unzipped, removed, and loaded into the stroller.
It was over.
There had been a massively annoying rant, yes, but there hadn’t been any blow-ups. Specifically by me.
Quick to listen, and realize that he’s talking nonsense… but to also realize that sometimes we all talk nonsense and we all need somebody to be patient with us and hear us out for a little while. Because often doing so makes us realize we were making a big deal out of nothing anyway.
Slow to speak, because often in a heated moment I love to play the mom card. I like to overrule his talk with my own because I’m the Mom and I’m obviously ‘right…’ Ha. This being slow to speak part demonstrates respect to a young boy training to be a man, and it also allows me time to formulate a non-hurtful and useful response.
Slow to become angry, because let’s be real. Getting all angry about it just makes me grumpy and ruins my trip, not his trip, since he will inevitably be distracted by the first candy store we pass while I’m still busy being grumpy.
Rein it in, even when the intensity is greatest.
Especially when the intensity is greatest.
I never said a word as we were leaving the library. On his own accord he grabbed his coat out of the stroller and put it on, and home we went. All was forgotten just like that. Peace was restored, and we just kept on walking.