As I sat downstairs I heard the siren that has been known– since the day she was born–as Moriah’s cry. It’s a cry that has always sent a surge of apathy through my spine. I was sure that Noah must have pinched her or kicked her or something harmful to her body…again. His response to her cry mirrored the one I so often find myself thinking when it comes to her tears, “I don’t want to hear your crying.” He said coldly. Hmm…Maybe I’ve said that aloud. Maybe he just feels the same way about the noise. Well, she cries a lot. And 10 times out of 10 her cry sounds like someone just ripped her intestines out, but further investigation will reveal that 9.5 times out of 10 Noah has committed some sort of injustice like using the crayon she was about to use or eating the last grape.

While I was waiting it out to see if these were tears I need to tend to or tears that indicate that she needs to learn to deal with conflict, her little brother came downstairs holding his bottom, his jelly beans, and smirking with his head cocked to one side. The look that says, “we all know I’m guilty, but I’m going to try my hardest to look cute and innocent anyway.” Moriah quickly followed, still crying that cry. It’s the cry that makes me want to say, “Oh Please.” I have been told many times that I’m a cold, emotionless, and merciless mother and to that I say, “get over it.” When you know your kids, you know when they’re trying to play games, you know when they need to learn a hard life lesson, you know when they need a defender, and you know when they just need a hug. My kids like to play games (test me) in public (i.e. at church). I don’t buy it. I don’t care who’s watching. When they play games in public there is no “Oh sweetie” coming out of my mouth. So anyway…

“I shared a jelly bean with Noah and he didn’t share one with me.”

“Moriah, no, I’m not going to handle this one. You guys need to take care of this one. You don’t share or give things to people because you think you’re going to get something back. If you want to trade that’s different. Then you exchange at the same time… I can’t help you. Go work it out.”

Just then the power of the Holy Spirit fell on Noah and he was convicted. He reached in his little egg and gave the girl a jelly bean and said he was sorry. Wow! So often she is “the victim” and Noah gets in trouble for antagonizing her. I have no doubts that he knew Moriah expected a jelly bean in return cause that’s the way they always do it, but I’m not going to teach him that if someone gives you something you need to give them something.

My goal as a parent is not to be apathetic, even for the “smallest” of things–they are big deals to them, but to speak truth to them. They need to know when they are being ridiculous, but they need to know that their parents are the ones to be ridiculous around. God’s mercy is not without truth. He is Truth and He is Mercy. Being merciful does not equal being a pushover and being truthful does not equal being cold, I need to remember that.