Updated: Aug 24
Last night I saw a TikTok video of this kid having what can best be described as a temper tantrum, in what looked to be a middle school classroom. He was kicking and throwing things around, to the point where the teacher instructed the other students to leave the class for their safety.
His behavior was inexcusable (though at no time did it look like the teacher or children were in harm's way). Still, given the situation, the teacher was justified in removing the students from class, as this student behaved in a way that warranted expulsion and a possible investigation from CPS.
I was incensed by the video. My judgment was swift and merciless. I quickly typed, "If I were this teacher I would've called the police, as this child looks like he's gonna spend most of his life in prison…so why not start the ball rolling now?". I didn’t care about his backstory. I didn’t really care about him. My care and concern were for the kids whose learning environment had just been disrupted by this volatile out of out-of-control child.
I’ve been dealing with some challenges lately and today after an interaction with an inept company that dropped the ball in a way that is costing me time and money I sat in my car seething. I literally had a temper tantrum in my mind. I saw myself turning over tables, screaming at the top of my lungs, and well…the rest of it involved some lighter fluid and a match. Don’t ask.
Of course, I did none of those things. And I’m certain their poor customer service would not have made me so angry had I not been dealing with other challenges that at the moment feel overwhelming and at times insurmountable. As I sat in my car having my vicious payback fantasy, that kid came to mind.
The Lord reminded me of how quickly and cavalierly I wrote him off. How I cared very little about the pain that brought him to that moment. And immediately I was humbled and embarrassed by my post on that video.
Thank God, that God is nothing like me. He cares about your backstory.
I’m a grown woman, I know how to process hurt and frustration. I’m mature enough not to act on emotion. But that kid hasn’t learned that yet. He was doing in real-time, what I wanted to do in my head.
There is still no excuse for his actions.
And he should be expelled.
But, I hope he meets an adult who SEES him. An adult who cuts through the pain and anger and sees the child who is hurting. Possibly helping to heal him into a man who spends his life not behind bars but in a world where there is hope and an opportunity for him to be who God has purposed him to be.
I failed him in my initial reaction.
And so I pen this blog, not so we will excuse bad behavior. There should absolutely be a suitable punishment when actions warrant it. But I hope along with the punishment, there will also be grace that sees beyond the mistake of the moment. I hope if we remember first to LOVE, maybe we can help a kid be better down the line.