A Fool’s Provocation by Mayada Naami

Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

(Proverbs 27:3, NIV)

I was sitting in an airport waiting for my flight from Italy to France when I witnessed two young kids, a boy and girl, aged eight and seven, sitting next to each other and being boisterous. Their behavior was unmonitored and undisciplined for about five minutes. Then the boy started physically picking at his little sister and when she started fighting back, her parents reacted angrily to her. The dad grabbed her and her things and moved her away from her brother and then her mom scolded her. As I watched, I noticed the boy suddenly quietly reading his book as if he had nothing to do with just happened to his sister. It was mind blowing to see this mean–spirited, annoying boy turn into an angelic well–behaved young boy in an instant, The parents had no idea what had just transpired. As I watched all this, I remembered my childhood and how my brother and I had this same scenario transpire several times with the same exact outcome.

I said something to the parents with the hope that I planted a seed in the dad’s mind for the future. When everyone had settled down, I politely said to the dad that the boy also was misbehaving yet she was the only child scolded. He immediately responded to me by saying they take turns at misbehaving, and he gets in trouble too. I was impressed that he did not get upset with my comment, so I preceded to tell him about my personal experience as a child; how my brother picked on me and when I defended myself, I got in trouble. He replied that he understood how I felt because in his case, when he was a child, he was always the kid getting into trouble. The conversation turned pleasant, and I was thankful that I had the courage to say something. My prayer is that God will continue to water that seed and teach the parents.

The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

(Proverbs 18:14, NIV)

The parents meant well but they were distracted, as most parents are. They judged the little girl without investigating what transpired, crushing her spirit; creating a pattern of behavior that may continue into adulthood. The boy could grow up thinking that there are no consequences to his actions unless he gets caught, and the girl could grow up thinking she can’t defend herself because she will be the one to get in trouble. She may become passive, even a people pleaser, accepting abuse just so she can stay out of trouble. God does not set up women to be abused as children. He does not perpetuate abuse on any human beings. He promises to love us and assist us in overcoming the effects of sin on earth. When we take a stand against abuse, whether it is abuse in our own lives or the lives of others, we are working in His Kingdom on His behalf and for His Glory.

“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

(Proverbs 6:16-19, NIV)

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