Do you ever feel like some people in life are attempting to save face instead of acting with grace? Webster defines grace as a noun meaning “courteous, goodwill.” Growing up in the south, I can assure you that grace is just as essential to learn from a young age as reading, writing, and arithmetic. This week, I began to think about how grace applies so much more to friendship, parenting, and conflict.
A picture went viral this week of two high school students and close friends on a football field during a homecoming ceremony in Alabama. Football is a southern religion, and homecoming is one of the most important days on the church calendar. This picture was the epitome of grace. It depicts true friendship, love, happiness, and joy in celebrating another’s moment of glory. With the negativity in the world today, and in a society filled with bullies and mean-girls, this photo was so much more refreshing. Witnessing this moment, we could all feel optimistic and hope to duplicate this goodwill in our friendships. We can all act with so much more grace to support our friends and celebrate their successes as we would our own.
As a parent, seeing this picture online made me realize there are still parents raising their children with strong values. As I commented online about the photo, my words were for the girls and their parents, families, and those who have had a positive influence in their lives. I know nothing about these two girls other than at this moment. However, it is easy to see they are being raised by strong individuals who teach them so much more about grace and genuine friendship.
Just today, I watched my 6-year old daughter participate in an online assembly for her classmates and others at her school. Each child eagerly awaits the announcements to determine who has received weekly awards for each year group, class, and subject. The children clap, smile, and often squeal with delight not only for themselves but for their friends. Even if they are sad on the inside because they didn’t receive one, they support each other and share in one another’s joyous moments. Why, when we grow older, is this so much more difficult to do? Perhaps if we as parents act with so much more grace, our children will emulate what they see.
We all face conflicts in life. They exist in our marriages, families, friendships, workplaces, schools, literally everywhere. However, it isn’t the conflicts themselves that define us; it is how we choose to handle them. As a grown woman, I can still attest to dealing with teenage-girl-like drama more often than I would like to admit. It takes grace to realize when we are wrong or have made a mistake. It takes so much more to apologize and to offer forgiveness. A photo of two teenagers can serve as a reminder for all of us to act with so much more grace when it comes to dealing with conflicts.
I love Taylor Swift, and her new album plays continuously on my phone. In one song, she mentions not having it within her at a particular moment to walk away with grace. I understand this all too well. There have been many moments this year that have been extremely difficult to face with grace. Now is the perfect time to let go and set a goal to act with so much more of it. After all, I am a southern girl, raising a girl of my own, and she needs to know the importance of grace.