Sunday, September 23, 2012

Protecting One Another's Feelings In Public




My family loves to have a good time. We love to tease and laugh. We laugh A LOT.  You can imagine with two kids growing and maturing that sometimes the teasing gets out of hand. It tramples a feeling or two – or ten. Sometimes it’s uncalled for as my girls learn where to draw the line when it comes to teasing and laughing.

As much as we love to have fun, I’m also very hard-nosed about loving one another. I try to be very intentional about having my girls support one another in their ventures and try to encourage a strong bonding relationship between them.

As someone who loves to observe human interaction and people’s behaviors – I have seen many, many families and observed how they relate to each other. I cringe whenever I see them mock, ridicule, or “jokingly” put each other down in public. For I know if it’s done in public, they probably feel a lot more comfortable doing it in private!

I say, “Be nice” a lot in my home. A LOT. I don’t like sassy tones and I don’t like jokes told at someone else’s expense. Those aren’t jokes, in my opinion. So recently, when I was embarrassed in public over something small and then again when I saw one of my daughter’s embarrassed over something and observed how laughter was given anyways and fingers pointed openly – I knew I needed to pay more attention to this issue.

For love always protects.

And love protects someone else’s feelings when they’ve been hurt or embarrassed. It doesn’t laugh openly or point it out so the person is further embarrassed. No, it protects. Sometimes that means a distraction or maybe sharing something similar you’ve done to put the other person at ease.  But love never turns the handle on the wound and risks placing an embarrassed or hurt person further out in the spotlight.

I heard someone once say that they knew their spouse’s “hot buttons” and that over time, the longer you are married, you just choose not to push them. It’s the same for parenting or siblings. You know what gets to someone but because of your love for them, you make the conscious choice not to go there.

I want to be part of a family that laughs a lot. But I want to be a part of a family that has ALL of us laughing a lot because of joy and a sense of fun. Not because some of us are laughing at someone else.  For if we aren’t all in it together, none of us should be in on it.

We hold a powerful role when we know someone so intimately as we do our own families. We can easily crush or lift up. I want to lift up and I want my children to lift up. I want us to know that the other person has our backs – even when they see our flaws and failures.  For that’s what love does.

It protects.

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