A Lesson in Mercy

We just had a memorable lesson in mercy.

It started with Sierra reading in LIttle House in the Big Woods about when Laura blurted out, “I hate Sundays!” Instead of reprimanding her, Pa told her a story of when his own Pa rebelled against his family’s Sunday rules. Following the homeschool curriculum Prairie Primer (a literary unit study based on the Little House books), we talked about how Pa showed mercy to Laura. We looked up mercy in an 1828 dictionary (which, ironically, we access online), looked up some Bible texts that talk about mercy, and even wrote a poem about mercy.

But the real lesson in mercy was this afternoon while we were cooking together. Sierra wasn’t doing her part of the cooking as quickly as I felt she could, and I kept prodding her along, getting less and less patient as we went. She responded by getting an attitude. Remembering something I’d read that talked about how to fix a kids bad attitude (step #1: fix your own bad attitude), I stopped. Saying nothing, I reached over and stroked her hair. She flinched at first, then glared at me before pushing my hair away. It didn’t matter. I was feeling calmer and continued with the food preparations quietly.

Within a few minutes Sierra erupted into tears. “You just showed me mercy!” she blubbered, “and I wish I could repay you.”

Giving her a big hug, I said, “If you can show mercy to others, that will be the best repayment either. I can’t imagine anything better than to be able to say my daughter is merciful.”

Speaking of mercy, if you’re sitting on the edge of your seat (I doubt you are, but just in case) wondering what is happening with our attempt to eliminate disposable bread wrappings from our lifestyle, I hope you can be merciful just a little longer. We have made some strides toward this goal (more about those in the next blog) but we still have some things to figure out. 



About Lori Futcher

Freelance writer and copyeditor
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