“I’m thankful for my family, my neighborhood, my friends and I’m even thankful for -insert name of child bullying my boy here,- even if he’s being a bully right now.”  Noah S. 8 yrs old.

I wasn’t sure how to respond. My brain sifted through his words in an attempt to analyze,  Was he expressing some sick co-dependant relationship issues? Was he working the bully thing for attention, and loving it? No.. he’s doesn’t seem thankful for being bullied…. He’s had several meetings with the principal to confront and problem solve the issues and I’ve been driving him to and from school to minimize his contact with the bully in question. He doesn’t like it. But, I had to be sure…

“Are you saying you’re glad he’s been bullying you?”

“No, I’m just glad that God made him and that he was my friend. Maybe, he will be again.”

He’s hopeful that the child will give up his bullying ways, and will again, become a friend. He sees the good parts of the child in addition to the difficult. We talked about how sometimes people just don’t click.. kind of like legos and other building blocks.. that you don’t always fit together as friends…and that’s ok. (I didn’t want him to get his hopes up about being friends with the bully….) He remained hopeful and thankful.

At which point I realized:

I wish I were more like Noah.

My response to being bullied…or aggravated by someone else is NOT to be thankful for the person. It’s more likely to be defensive, and to insulate myself from them. I may even give others a “warning” about their bullying ways and complain to God about their mere existence…I wish they’d be banished from my life.

I’ve ever been thankful.

I want to be like Noah when I grow up. Probably cause he’s so much like Jesus….

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in Matthew 5:44 (NIV translation)

Dear Jesus.. during this thanksgiving time I pray that you’d stretch and grow my thankfulness.. let it include the things and people I struggle to be thankful for. And Lord- I pray that you’d bring peace and your love into this relationship that Noah’s struggling with.. I love you lord, amen.

*** Also- for those who may worry- Noah’s “bullying experience” is pretty minimal in the scope of bullying.. he and another boy are just not getting along…lots of teasing and picking at him but nothing out of the norm for boys.