Teachable Moment – Name Calling

3rd grade began this year for my son, Jake, with hearing rumors of some of the 4th grade boys thinking of a name to call the 3rd grade boys.  My son was on the fringe of all of this and pretty much unaffected.  So, I don’t know the whole scoop.  However, it presented some great teachable moments to discuss name calling.  First of all, it was important to find out if the 4th graders were intending to be hurtful or playful.  Then, I asked what my son’s approach would be if they started calling them this name in a hurtful way. 

Our pastor, Buddy, recently shared a perfect example from his college days.  Being a die-hard Auburn fan, he went with a friend to a rival team’s game, sporting an Auburn jersey.  During the game, an inebriated rival fan got in Buddy’s face and started yelling at him.  Buddy’s friend stood up and said, “If you want him, you gotta’ go through me!”  Neither my pastor or his friend were looking for a fight.  But his friend had the guts to stand up to the bully and was even able to talk him down.   In his sermon where this example was used, Buddy referenced this verse.   

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

The bigger point of the sermon was living out and sharing our faith despite our circumstances.  I realized that for Jake, standing up for what is right on the playground is what that looks like in his 3rd grade world.  Though my karate kid would love to swing into action in such a circumstance, we discussed what would be a more appropriate approach…a more “self-disciplined” one.  Just like Buddy’s friend, I challenged my kids to be the kind of friend that stands up for others and for what is right.  And, they can try to do that with “power, love, and self-discipline.” 

It turns out that the principal handled the situation so there was no need for Jake to intervene.   Simultaneously however, there was a friend of his who had a nickname that I felt needed to be addressed in light of our discussion on name calling.  One of Jake’s friends in his class is a good deal taller and bigger than the rest of the kids.  I overheard that his friends were calling him, “The Giant.”  When I questioned Jake about whether his friend was ok with this or not, Jake said he was and that he knew they were just teasing.  Be that as it may, I know what it’s like as I was called “Too-Tall Kara” in the 4th grade for the same reasons.  While it didn’t truly bother me either, I shared with Jake that I would have appreciated a friend checking with me just to be sure.  I challenged Jake to pull his friend aside and find out how he really felt about the nickname.  He did and the friend is indeed ok with it.  I told Jake I was proud of him for being a good enough friend to ask him. 

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14


Monday 21 October, 2013  |  Copyright ©2013, Kara Durbin read more>>

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