Last week my daughter was at the grocery store with her two-year-old daughter. Erica had been battling Marie to stay seated in the cart. Determined to win this battle, Erica stopped in the middle of one the aisles and re-seated Marie once again.
When she turned her attention back to her shopping, she realized that she had been blocking the aisle and someone was waiting for her to move.
Erica quickly apologized and moved aside. As the lady passed her she said, “I’ve been there, too. Remember it’s her age, not her personality.” Erica later shared with me how much she appreciated those words in that crazy moment.
I agree with Erica: what a beautiful statement that brought important perspective and encouragement to Erica in her frustration as a mom! I’m believing that lady said that because she’s read No More Perfect Kids! The heart of that book is that our kids are in process and that we often expect more than what their age can produce! (Okay, I have no idea if she’s read the book, but I can smile at the possibility, can’t I?)
I also love how this mom delivered her encouragement. First she offered empathy. She put herself in Erica’s shoes and said “I understand” with her words. Second, she offered wisdom. Hard-earned wisdom from a mom who’s been there and has 20/20 hindsight.
Finally, I love the beauty of her wisdom. Too often we label our kids in their frustration with words like “strong-willed,” “stubborn,” “needy,” or “whiney.” What if, instead of labeling them with those kind of descriptive words, we simply said, “She’s so 2.” or “He’s so 17.”? If we can do that, we’ll adjust our expectations and increase our compassion.
I’m willing to commit to no labels other than age this week! Will you join me?