Living in community is hard. It is easy and natural for us to think of ourselves first and forget the needs of others. We can easily hurt another through actions, words, or omissions. At other times we just misunderstand each other or miscommunicate. This also leads to hurt or harm. This week a group of four Grade 3 girls hurt each other in some way during recess. These things happen, but it was the next set of actions that brings a beautiful conclusion to the story. Actions that show Christian love and understanding, Christian mentorship, and a restoration of relationships.
When the girls came inside after recess, Mrs. Cooney recognized there was a problem. She solved the problem, but not in an expected way because she did not own the problem or solve the problem for them through rebuke or punishment. Mrs. Cooney made space for them in a busy day to resolve the problem amongst themselves. She asked me if they could use my office because they needed space to have a conversation. I agreed. As the girls entered the space of my office, I said nothing. I also gave them space to have a conversation.
The girls sat down around the table, facing each other. Very quickly, they decided who would speak first. As the first girl spoke, the others respectfully listened to her. Each waited for their own turn to speak. After about ten minutes into the conversation, one girl broke out in tears, placed her head on the table and could not speak. The other three asked a couple of times if she was o.k., but the girl could not answer them. Realizing she was too upset to speak, the other three respectfully and silently waited for her. After a minute or two, the girl lifted her head and spoke. A few more minutes of quiet conversation and all of a sudden I heard something about hot dogs (It was hot dog day) and the four girls’ giggled and the conversation ended. I asked if they had resolved their problem and four girls looked at me with smiles on their faces and said, “Yes.” They left and returned to class. I never had to say a word. Relationships were restored.
I was really proud of these girls. Such maturity, wisdom, and respect was on display. They owned and solved the problem themselves in a way that reflected the grace and mercy of Christ. I an proud of our teachers. Obviously, these students were given a set of tools to solve problems that was taught. Our teachers were part of equipping those girls with those tools. It was a healthy way to resolve hurt and harm. We can learn from them. I am thankful to God for this lesson in grace and mercy. It reminds me of His grace and mercy for me.