The Child as Teacher

Recently I found myself in a situation where my son was accused of something. The accusers though it was pretty serious. Very serious. I was told that something very bad had happened and for an hour or so I wasn’t sure what it might be. Did he steal money? Was he caught doing drugs? This was the seriousness of the tone. I couldn’t imagine what it could be. I phoned my son and asked him if he knew what it might be and he said he had no idea. When I heard the details of what had supposedly occurred, I really felt  instantly that the whole thing had been blown out of all proportion. That it had been mis-perceived, that maybe there was a cultural difference in the way the incident had been viewed and that the incident was being handled with a gravity of which the action did not deserve.

You might say I flew off the handle. I went into full blown tigress protecting her cub. I was defensive, I was aggressive, I was angry, insulted and very very annoyed. Arguments ensued, disbelief, misunderstanding, accusation was met with counter accusation. I was wounded and angry.

My son returned home to be met with this accusation. The accuser and the accused began the conversation calmly, while I listened, quietly seething. My son was relaxed. he explained his point of view. He listened to the accuser. Very calmly, very openly, totally non-defensively, completely open-heartedly. He explained his actions. He defended himself to a certain degree but he also  said he could empathize with the accusers point of view. He apologized for any upset that had been caused by his actions. He admitted he had behaved in a way that was inappropriate and he accepted this and assured the accuser it would never happen again. While always maintaining his strength and integrity and general innocence.

As I listened from my place of anger and defensiveness and self-righteousness indignation, I was overcome with a humbling sense of amazement. My son was grace itself. Whereas I had succumbed instantly to outrage and anger.

He taught me a wonderful lesson in humility and grace in the face of a pretty serious sequence of events. He and the accuser left the conversation as comrades and friends. It took me a few more hours to get there myself.

photo by Ellen

photo by Ellen


Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:


Dr. Ellen Anne Burns is an actress, writer, mother, teacher, and student, not necessarily in that order. She was brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is a Doctor of Applied Theatre. She believes in a holistic spiritual practice, involving meditation, self love and discovery, learning and practicing forgiveness, gratitude and love every day. Ellen wishes to support and guide others on their own journey of self and love. She is a mentor on Gabrielle Bernstein’ and is thrilled to be one of the founding members of The Daily Sisterhood Blog. If you wish to contact Ellen please message her here, and she will respond as soon as she can.


One thought on “The Child as Teacher

  1. Thank your for raising conscious, loving children! This is our gift to the world that is to come, young ones who already understand and have been raised with enough love to be true to themselves. Bravo!

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