Patience with those who don’t know it all yet.

The basketball season is in full swing here at our house.  We have two boys playing community ball and one playing school ball.  Four games a week, minimum.  This weekend Shorty had a fifth grade tournament.  It was very exciting.  His team actually won the tournament!  I have photos, but they are on my phone, so I don’t have them right now to post.

Because of the season, we are needing to move Family Home Evening to a different night during the week.  With one car, we are also having to make a lot of other adjustments.  I love basketball season!  The adjustments are kind of driving me crazy.  But we do have some other fun perks.

At the tournament last weekend, one of the grandmas sat down by me on the front row.  We were watching the game before ours.  As one team was trying to use the clock to their advantage, they rolled the ball across the floor from the baseline toward their basket.  His teammate didn’t pick it up until it crossed the half court line.

Two families behind us were talking:
“Dad, why did he do that?” (roll the ball across the floor)
“Well, he was probably worried that he wouldn’t catch it, so he rolled it.”

I don’t remember what other reason was given, but the other family’s father said, “No actually it has to do with the clock.”

For those of you who do not know basketball, the clock doesn’t start until someone in bounds touches the ball.  So he rolled the ball across the floor to save time on the clock so they had more time to score.  But while the ball is rolling across the floor, the time they have to pass the ball in without turning it over is still ticking.  (They get five seconds.)  The team who rolled the ball wasn’t able to capitalize on their strategy.  In other words, they didn’t score any more points.

As the families in the crowd left the stands, the grandmother and I moved into their spots.  She said to me, “Can you believe that??!!  Two grown men not knowing the game enough to know what is going on??!!”  She was appalled!   It was pretty funny.

But here is how that situation applies to life:

Often, we are at different levels in our understanding of something we are trying to participate in.  We are there.  We show up.  We do what we think is expected of us.  This father was attending his son’s basketball game.  He brought his daughter to support her brother.  But basketball was obviously not his game or a language he was comfortable speaking.  But he was there, making an effort to participate.

The grandmother was irritated and frustrated, dumb-founded is a better word, that he would be there and not know enough or have had enough experience to know what he was watching or to understand it.  Luckily, she was kind and did not say those things to him directly.  However, her frustration level would probably have risen if she had been asked to work with him teaching basketball to children, especially if he was in charge and she was his assistant or counselor.  In life, and in the work place, the majority of the time, position favors the experienced and knowledgeable.  At church, it often doesn’t.

Contrary to worldly knowledge, the Lord often allows those lacking in knowledge and experience to learn from their experience.  He asks us to do things we are not familiar with and to work in areas that require our growth and development.  If those of us in the supporting staff do not have an attitude of service and learning, it can create quite a nasty environment for trying to do the Lord’s work. 

We all need to be kind.  We need to be patient.  Periodically, people we work with, are going to make mistakes because of their lack of experience or knowledge.  Sometimes their mistakes will affect us or our children directly and negatively.  In these instances, our hurt and anger will not help the situation.  But if we seek the Spirit and share our hurt and sorrow with our Father in Heaven, He will guide us as to what our part in the interaction needs to be.

I am not pretending that I always handle things well, far from it, just ask my family.  But I have had two such instances where after significant prayer and thought, I think I handled things properly, eventually.  The first, you have already read about (here).  The second was where a church leader said something about my husband, that was not true, to my children and in front of other youth in the stake.  I was very angry.  The information really confused my son, enough so that he sought other counsel from other priesthood leaders.  For a long time, I could not even talk to the individual.  I quit giving any kind of information about anything I thought or felt to the person or anything about my family.  I was not mean in our interactions, but it was definitely icy… could feel it.

For a long time, I just tried to stay close to the Spirit, to read my scriptures, to say my prayers, to continue to attend my meetings even though he would be there.  I prayed to know how to handle my frustrations and how to be supportive of the individual even though I was so hurt by his behavior.  Finally the Spirit directed me to this scripture:

3rd Nephi 12:

22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is aangry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

 23 Therefore, aif ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—
 24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be areconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full bpurpose of heart, and I will receive you.
I did not expect reconciliation, but was directed that I needed to go and speak with him and to let him know why I was so upset at his behavior.  It took me three weeks to put myself into a place where I felt like I could honestly communicate my feelings to him without blowing up in his face.  It had been more than six months since the incident.  (Now, I’m sure you have read between the lines.  It wasn’t a one time incident, but the one time incident is what sent me over that line that I have……)
I went to him.  I spoke with him.  I expressed to him why I felt his behavior was inappropriate and how it had hurt my family.  I was not really interested in why he felt it necessary to do what he did.  In some situations, that information has been helpful.  In this situation, it was not, because regardless of his feelings about my husband or his behavior, it is not something that you should tell to youth and their friends, especially his own children!  To have a priesthood leader undermine a youth’s parent to the youth’s face is not appropriate in any situation.
As I left, I knew I had done the right thing and spoken in truth.  I did not result to anger.  I did not really resolve anything.  He knew why I was upset and why our relationship was struggling.  He did not agree with me, obviously.  I do not know what our interaction did for him.  I only know what it did for me.  I no longer had to carry around the frustration and irritation for his behavior.  I could let it go.  And I did.
I guess the point of it all is that we are all in differing levels of understanding and development.  We do not love any of our children more or less because one’s development is farther along the path than another’s development.  We want all of our children to succeed equally.  We want them to learn and grow as much as possible.  So does our Father in Heaven.  He loves us equally.  He hopes that through our experience and interactions with each other, we will learn the lessons we need to.  He recognizes that growth comes just as much from making mistakes as it does from having to forgive mistakes or to appeal to the atonement to heal from our mistakes or the mistakes of others.  When we are kind and treat others as the Savior would, we are acting appropriately, even if that is different than what the world would teach.
The Savior’s way is the right way.  That means all of us participating in whatever capacity we are capable of and the rest of us being patient in the learning and development of others and ourselves.  Sometimes we need time to put our hearts in the right place, and that is OK.

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