I have a passion for soap that comes out in a foamy cloud. It’s like a party for my hands. Mash it. Fluff it. Shape it. Play with it.
Frankly it’s more fun to wash your hands the requisite amount of time–singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”–when it feels more like play than hygiene. It’s all about the fun.
A few nights ago I had the pleasure of hearing Heather, my oldest, speak at a ministry meeting. It was amazing.
The five kids were there as well. The sitter fell through, so the sweet urchins were working the crowd. Friendly, funny, engaging.
Bathroom breaks were needed before everything began. Their dad, Jeremy, took the needy ones. And came back with a bit of a grin.
Seems once in the bathroom, Teagan discovered the foam soap. And as he was washing up, he gathered a huge sudsy handful. And with his dad standing right next to him, he cried, “Soap slap!” And clapped his hands together.
Spraying foam everywhere.
I asked him later if this was original or if he’d seen it happen before. In his inimitable fast-talking way, he explained that it’s like filling your hands with “sand-hanitizer” and high fiving someone. Except with a soap slap, you don’t need anyone to help you distribute. Soap in the eyes, nose and mouth. And various surfaces.
Eight-year-olds rarely think about consequences. The immediacy of the challenge and possible fun override caution and potential outcomes. It’s not till someone gets hurt–or annoyed–that the thought would occur that their actions might cause others pain. Or discomfort.
If I’m being truthful, I’m not great in the consequence department either.The immediate possibilities of doing something that appeals to me or the chance for fun often blows the potential negatives out the window. I may not be spraying soap foam aimlessly around, but my words or attitudes could produce as much discomfort or pain as a splash of suds in the eye. As an adult, I should be more aware of how hurtful my words and actions can be.
Jesus upended the thinking of His day by teaching that the way to treat others was with compassion and kindness. Even if you were being treated poorly. The response was not to hurt back, but to respond with love.
“Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you….Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:28, 31
The Golden Rule. A way to live life that values people more than personal demands and desires. Thinking of others before myself.
Teagan’s soap slap was good-hearted fun that became annoying. He wasn’t looking to hurt anyone. My verbal soap slaps, on the other hand, can be pointedly painful. And yet what I want from others is to be treated with kindness and respect.
I guess the best response is to think twice as I hold those sudsy words.