I remember a “tough” conversation I wanted to have with our third grade son, Daniel.
I wasn’t very happy about the company he was starting to keep. His behavior was getting worse as he hung out with what I concluded must be bad company. So like any parent concerned about this issue, I launched firmly in. “Why are you hanging around with those guys? They seem like a bad influence.”
Way to win a kid’s heart, oh wise parenting sage.
Daniel immediately scowled and turned away. I realized in an instant that my approach wasn’t going to gain me much of a conversation. I took a quick breath and decided to calmly try again. “I’m sorry. I don’t really know your friends very well. I made an unfair judgment. Will you forgive me?”
My son stopped and turned back. Sensing my sincerity, he said, “I suppose.” I worked hard in that moment to have a heart of understanding instead of a heart of judgment. Then I tried again.