Grace, as it relates to children in my mind, is best described as unmerited favor and temporary exemption. It means that there has to be room to provide a child a little mercy for an act, even if the child doesn’t deserve it.
Grace allows distance between the wrong act and the child so that the child is not scarred for life and has time to make it right. “It” and the consequences of “it” can make or break a child. This mother’s focus is on the day-to-day, not-so-serious things that our children do that should be teaching moments and not broken ones. In many households, these acts are blown so far out of proportion that grace and mercy cannot exist.
How many of us would be able to rise above our pasts if our actions were broadcast for the world to see and to judge on Facebook, on the evening news, in the local newspaper or during family gatherings? The reaction of an adult to a child should be filtered through the lens of reality.
There has to be room to bestow a little grace on our children. We need to realize that many are simply doing the best that they can with the situation in which they live. Many have been removed from their parents’ homes to foster homes for their safety; some have parents in prison; some are being raised by their grandparents; and some are being raised in households with a mom and a dad and a three-car garage, and even those children have no idea or sense of getting to know who they are.
Children whose compass is not properly set can steer off course. A relationship with an adult who remembers when they received grace, a pass or a helping hand can make the difference in the outcome for a child. Such an adult can step into the child’s shoes and help the child make course corrections on his or her journey with grace.
Children who persevere through trying circumstances are to be applauded and not judged for their appearance, the color of their skin or the manner in which they speak. The moral center of our children is what is important.
How nice it would be if what we are on the inside were visible. Then others could see that what is hidden on the inside indeed is manifested in the flesh. Then the grace that we give to children would be seen and those children would know that “it” is not the end but the beginning. They can get up, dust themselves off, maintain their dignity and begin all over again, gracefully.
• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears monthly in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.