During the Thanksgiving month I tried extra hard to concentrate each day on what I was thankful for. Sometimes it was hard and other times not as hard. What I realized was, even on a bad day there are things to be learned from the experiences in that day. At very least I can be thankful for learning experiences and for chances to teach my children.
Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to teach Kailey about treating others with kindness even when we don't want to, about right and wrong, and about repentance and forgiveness.
It started with me having a chance to get on and order some of the presents I wanted for Todd. It took longer then I thought and Kailey and Cope started getting antsy as they are prone to do whenever I get on a computer or on the phone. Soon they were fighting. Although I randomly broke it up, I am ashamed to say I wasn't paying close attention. I was almost done and wanted to quickly finish so I could get completely off the computer. Kailey came in and informed me that Cope was in my room. (The kids aren't allowed in our room without prior permission.) I told her I would be right there. About five minutes later as I was closing down the last window from my last purchase, I heard a door slam and a knob rattle. Cope started crying and Kailey came running into the room. To say I was not thrilled with the next words out of her mouth would be an understatement.
"Mom, Cope is locked in the closet!"
We changed out the door knobs on our closet and replaced it with a heavy duty locking knob to store things we didn't want the kids getting into. Unfortunately at some point the key had been removed and I have no idea where it is so I just keep it unlocked.
"How did that happen?"
She immediately lowered her head in shame and wouldn't look at me. Slowly I pulled the story from her.
She got frustrated with how Cope was acting. Apparently he had knocked down her block tower, and erased her drawing on her magnetic doodle board. So when he went in my room she thought that she might be able to get him in trouble and came running to me. When that didn't work she got mad, locked the closet door, and slammed it in his face.
To make a long story short Cope was in there for quite some time before I finally just decided to take off the door and had my sister-in-law come help me remove the hinge pins and remove the door.
Once he was out I sat down with Kailey and we discussed how being locked in the closet must have made him feel, and what would have happened had I been unable to get him out. We talked about positive ways to deal with frustration and what she should have done instead of slamming a locked door. After we got done with that discussion, Kailey looked at me with her read, puffy, tear covered face and said, "How do I fix it Mom?"
So then I got the wonderful opportunity to teach my child about repentance and the power of forgiveness. She knew she had done something wrong, and she acknowledged that. She obviously felt bad about it, but she didn't know what came next. I explained that just knowing you have done something wrong and feeling bad for it, isn't enough. You must never do it again. She agreed that nothing like this would ever happen again. We talked about confessing and how usually she needed to let the person, in this case Cope, who had been hurt know that she knew she had done something wrong, that she was sorry, and that it would never happen again. She interjected that maybe she should tell Jesus that too. I agreed that was a good idea.
After that was finished she asked if she had been forgiven yet and what exactly forgiveness was, so we talked about making restitution. She decided that in order to make up for it, she would be extra nice to Cope the rest of the day and would help me extra since I lost time trying to get Cope out. Then we talked about forgiveness and how I love her and the Lord loves her no matter what and will forgive her anytime she has done the necessary things to make sure she has repented. So to prove that I meant that, other then telling Todd when he got home, I didn't bring the incident up again. She helped me do dishes, cleaned her room and was extra nice to Cope. She even gave him the last cookie rather then breaking it into two like I said she could.
I am so grateful for the saving principle of repentance in my life. I'm grateful that I got such a wonderful opportunity to teach my child this principle in a way she could understand. I'm grateful for forgiveness and new beginnings and I'm grateful that I have the chance to share those with my children.
So yes, it wasn't fun hearing my son cry in a locked closet and frantically trying to get him out. It wasn't fun pushing my fingers under the door so that he could hold them to help calm him down, but without it such a wonderful learning experience never would have occured. I'm grateful for learning experiences. Now, I just need to find the key so it never happens again. :)