“You know the best thing about a rough day, buddy?” I said to him as he laid down next to me for our nightly snuggle chat. “They end. And tomorrow we get to wake up to a beautiful sunrise and start over again.”
How did we get here? The day started like every other day in the Solar house. Jenny sleeping in a bit. I’m up working on breakfast and prepping for the day. The kids wake up groggy from our late nights of playing with this gorgeous weather, and I struggle to get keep them focused on the simple tasks of getting dressed, eating breakfast and putting their shoes on. We manage, though, Jenny comes in and makes 3 healthy lunches and I dropped them off at school like any other day, and as they hopped out of the car, I shouted, like I always do, “Remember to be kind and seek awesomeness today!”
Normal day stuff happens.
Flash forward to 3:45 and Lia comes running out of school smiling, arms wide open waiting for me to pick her up and twirl her, like I do every single day. Ava comes out and yells, “Try and catch me, daddy!” and I chase her around the grass until I finally catch her. Then Max comes out, looking really bummed. “The first half of today was bad, but then it got better after lunch,” he said.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well, at PE today, we were playing ball, and I tagged a kid out at home, and he stuck his middle finger up at me and yelled F@*$ you at me. So we had to go to the principal’s office. After that, we promised to be nice to each other and then the rest of the day was good.”
Cut to playing basketball out front. I overhear Max saying F@*$ you to no one in particular, and, having never heard my son say that phrase out loud before I was kind of shocked. I’ve said those words maybe 10 times his entire 9 years of existence, and I know it’s just cussing, but it’s not a nice phrase. I’ve tried and tried to teach them we should spend our energy on positivity. From our thoughts, to our actions, and our words. If we focus on adding positive energy into the world, we’re doing our part to make the world a better place. Now I’m getting way off topic.
“Max, did I hear you say what I think you said?” No response. “Max, answer me, did you say what I think you said?” No response. One more time I asked, “Max did you just say the f word?”
“No,” he replied.
It’s one thing to cuss, but it’s a whole other thing to lie. I know he said it. I heard him. Lying, I will not tolerate, ever.
“Max, I get it, you’ve had a rough day. You heard a kid say this to you, and you repeated it. You know better than to talk like that, but you said it, you feel bad, you apologize and move on.” At this point, he has tears streaming down his face because he feels bad. I know he feels bad. My boy is a sensitive dude, and I love him to pieces for it.
We’re inside an hour later and just finishing up dinner. I’m doing the dishes and as I unpack Max’s lunchbox, I see an empty Smarties wrapper in his lunchbox. Now, kids eat candy, but Max has been sick for 15 months now, fighting sinus infection after sinus infection with a horrible cough. He’s been on a very strict whole foods diet with no sugars, and he’s never cheated before. So I asked him, “Max, why is there an empty Smarties wrapper in your lunchbox? Did you eat Smarties?”
“No,” he replied. And with that he had lied to me again.
Jump to our nightly snuggle chat. “You know the best thing about a rough day, buddy? They end. And tomorrow we get to wake up to a beautiful sunrise and start over again. Max, I get it. You’re 9 years old. You’re just figuring out this crazy life, and you mess up. I’m not perfect, either. I mess up plenty. In fact, way back in the day, when mommy and I were first dating, I lied to her a lot. And let me tell you, nothing good ever comes from a lie. Ever. We all do things we regret, but here’s the thing. We can’t change the past. We can’t change what we did, and we can’t dwell on our mistakes either. Just like mommy forgave me and trusts me, I forgive you, and trust you. Do you know the best part about this whole situation, though?”
“God still loves me?” he asked.
“Yes, God will always love you, even though you’ll make plenty of mistakes in your life, God will always love you. And, just like, God, I will, too. That’s the beauty of grace. We make mistakes, we move on and learn and grow and do better next time.”
And, with that, his rough day had came to an end…
I’m scared, friends. My kids are growing up, and I want them to know they are good, no matter what. There’s goodness in their hearts, and it’s always there. They’re so innocent and creative and care free. People say they can’t stay that way forever, that they have to grow up. And, to an extent, that’s true, they do need to grow up, but I want them to know…
They are loved…
They are enough…
They are good…
Their dreams matter.