Teachable Moments

Yesterday my two girls were riding their bikes outside as I was changing my son's diaper inside.  All of a sudden my oldest daughter entered the house with a sheepish look on her face.  She came to me and admitted that she had accidentally scratched the car with one of the handlebars on her bike.  I walked outside and headed toward my car, but she stopped me and said, "No, daddy, not our car, the one over there" (pointing to the neighbor's car!).  My stomach dropped as I gave my daughter an angry look.  We walked over there and sure enough, there it was -- a pretty big scratch across the back of our next door neighbor's little red car.  I looked around to see if anyone was watching us.  I know this sounds bad, but for a few seconds I actually contemplated whether or not I should say anything to our neighbor.  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit had a little conference with me and nudged me to tell my daughter that she needed to come with me and knock on our neighbor's door and tell them what happened.  She needed to confess what she had done.  It was hard.  Hard for me and hard for her to humble ourselves and walk up to their front door.  But we did.  And I was thankful for it.  Because after we apologized and explained everything to our neighbor, he took a look at his car and told us to not worry about it.  I assured him that we could pay him for what had happened but he insisted that it would be fine.  I was shocked.

As my daughter and I went back inside we had a good little talk.  I told her that I was glad she came to me right away when she had scratched the car.  I was glad she didn't keep it to herself and try to cover it all up.  And I told her I was even more glad that she was willing to come with me and confess what she had done.  In the end, we talked about the kindness and grace of our neighbor.  We should have paid for that scratch in the car.  It was our fault.  My daughter knew right away where I was going with all this.  She said it's kinda like God and how he gives us grace that we don't deserve.  I nodded and said, "Exactly."

All in all, it was a teachable moment and I was glad for it.  Besides learning about the need to fess up to what we've done and receive God's grace, my daughter now knows to ride her bike far away from parked cars!