Just Write {41}

June 25, 2012

There were older boys walking by and they took the boys’ soccer ball as they went and kept going. This was quickly reported back to the mother whose house our boys were playing in front of with friends. She told her oldest son to go get the ball.

Just ask them if the ball is theirs, she said. So he did. He gathered courage and picked up his bike and hopped on to go find them and it was almost like he wanted the challenge–the adventure.

He came back with the ball.

My eyes were wide when she told me this, the way she encouraged her boy to figure it out. She told him, If they won’t give it back, just leave. It’s not worth fighting over.

He came back with the ball. No big thing. He surprised them. He said they acted nervous and couldn’t answer his question. Is that your ball? And then they threw it to him without a word and he gave it back to my sons.

Days before this I was getting out of the car in the driveway and the older boys went by and pretended to shoot me with toy guns and hands poised like weapons–mean-spirited. I grumbled and glared and stalked off, annoyed, into the safety of my trenches, my bunker through my front door.

Now I think about a boy on a bike asking for the ball back and I wish I had dropped to the ground, acting as if I’d been hit by the rapid fire from their mouths. Rolling and groaning and waiting to see, is that what you wanted, boys? I wish I had done that and then popped up to laugh.

Let’s do this. 

Sometimes you have to surprise people right out of themselves. Next time maybe I’ll fall down and roll and groan and then watch their eyes widen and then I’ll walk away if they don’t laugh,


you can learn something from kids every time.


This is the 41st installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments{Please see the details here.}  I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main pageThen please link back to this post in your post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.) (Any links not following those two guidelines will be deleted.)

Also. Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word?

This is a two post day, my friends. I’d love it if you’d take a moment to read my thoughts on parenting in this digital age of ours and how I think it has changed parenting for me. See you there!


christine June 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Yes, learning from kids. (And for the record, I would have done like you. But if the occasion should arise, I will now fall on the ground and moan and groan.)
christine recently posted..Slowly Feeding My Fire

Sherry June 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Me too, I’m gonna flop around on the ground too. :) Don’t know that is completely relates, but this post reminds me of that horrible story about that poor lady who was bullied on the school bus recently. Have you watched that? Ugh, breaks my heart…wonder what those kids’ parents think? Grrrrr!!

Toddler Summer June 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Isn’t it surprising how much we learn from our children. Every day. In the most and least expected ways?
Toddler Summer recently posted..Playing In The Mud

Gianna June 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

that would have been AWESOME!
Sometimes I feel like I can laugh at other kids more than I can laugh at my own. Maybe because I think they should know me better. Maybe because I see my imperfections in them and I can’t let it go.

Maybe because I’m so wrapped up in my own world that I forget to enter theirs.

Yeah, let’s do that next time. Just join in and crack up! I’ll let you know how it goes!
Gianna recently posted..Mixed up Moments

Shelly Miller June 25, 2012 at 9:57 pm

People are surprised by courage aren’t they? And I can just imagine their widened eyes if you fell to the ground to play along. Do it next time!
Shelly Miller recently posted..Why I’m Done With Being Good

tracy@sellabitmum June 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm

So much to learn everyday. I’m totally taking someone by surprise tomorrow. Because of you. xo
tracy@sellabitmum recently posted..Here’s What We Did Last Wednesday

Jo@Mylestones June 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Ha! I am totally picturing you dropping to the ground and groaning. You MUST do that next time, and then tell us what happens.
(Loved this post, by the way.)

Stephanie Precourt June 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm

You totally should.

Stephanie Precourt recently posted..This is the summer of.

Brandi June 26, 2012 at 7:06 am

it would have never occurred to me to deal with mean spirited kids in that way. i’m always so quick to walk away, scared of confrontation. not everything has to end in confrontation, though.

Leslie June 26, 2012 at 7:32 am

Love this post, Heather! Makes me think.

Nancy June 26, 2012 at 7:34 am

So very true. There is always something to learn and many times it comes from our children.

tara pohlkotte June 26, 2012 at 7:39 am

yes!!! let’s!! {wondering to self if i HAVE to wait until someone points their finger gun at me, or if i just “go with it” in my driveway next time i see the neighbor boy. haha.}
tara pohlkotte recently posted..And For Tonight

Erin June 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

I love this Heather. So much. :)
Erin recently posted..Just Writing

Satakieli June 26, 2012 at 7:53 am

It’s funny isn’t it how sometimes we do learn things from kids. Things that we must’ve known at some point surely? But have forgotten along the way.

This is my first time linking up :)
Satakieli recently posted..Fields and Nettles

suzannah | the smitten word June 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

that element of surprise reminds me of the book Playful Parenting. it’s always against my natural inclination, but whenever i do come up with a silly response, it rarely fails to disarm.
suzannah | the smitten word recently posted..laughing at the days {guest post for imperfect prose}

Elizabeth June 26, 2012 at 9:33 am

OH, as a mom of boys who are getting to the age where they and their buddies might be the ones in those scenarios (on both sides of it), I love your thoughts on all of it. The navigating through these new phases of life — as the boys, as the moms… all of it. Love the idea of playing into it. I can imagine you cracking them right up by hitting the ground. Good stuff, Heather. xo
Elizabeth recently posted..like blankets

Baby by the Sea June 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

Yes, there’s so much to learn from our children, from their actions and words. It’s funny sometimes to do what they least expect us to do, to flip their whole world upside down. I’m joining in today for the first time. So happy to be a part of this. xoxo
Baby by the Sea recently posted..Just Write {Beach}

Julia June 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

“Sometimes you have to surprise people right out of themselves.” LOVE this. Thank you and your boys for such a good lesson.
Julia recently posted..Alone

Jennifer June 26, 2012 at 11:04 am

That’s awesome that she encouraged him to do that and then he had success. Hopefully he will carry that feeling with him for a long time.
Jennifer recently posted..Having it all

Mindy June 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I just found your link for Just Write and I love it! I will be linking up from now on!
Mindy recently posted..Five Minute Friday {Risk}

Heather June 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

It is good to surprise people! I had an experience with boys doing the shooting thing, too (boys and guns!) and I said, “Oh, thank you, that’s so nice,” and they just looked at me with gaping mouths and walked away with their tails between their legs.

Good for kids to learn to not cow to things like that!
Heather recently posted..Managing

Galit Breen June 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I love every last little bit of this.

The learning and the surprise and oh my, the faith that that mother showed in her son.


Galit Breen recently posted..So Very Sorry

becca June 27, 2012 at 1:21 am

so good … have been talking with some friends about creative ways to diffuse situations that we come across in our neighbourhood … for example a mom screaming at her child in the shops. definitely not wanting to add fuel to her fire which would probably end up with more anger towards her child. have thought about pretending I don’t notice what’s going on and running up to the child and telling them I think I saw them at the park or something, or interrupting the mom and asking her where she found an item that’s in her cart because I was looking for that … just to kind of create a diversion rather than confronting the mother…

your post inspired me. we gotsta be different than the rest of the world!

tiffany June 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

Hi Heather!

I have linked up to Just Write for the first time! I have read and loved Stephanie’s and yours so I finally had one – i didn’t really read about the idea behind it until after I had posted and linked up. Mine seemed to have more of a theme but it really was a just write thing if that makes sense! I was sitting with all these things on my mind and heart that I was struggling with so I wrote!

Anyway I wanted to thank you for his great inspiration — often times I do just write but feel its too “untidy” and makes no sense, doesn’t have a point or theme — you probably get the idea. Anyway this was freeing for me to have this link up to feel I could just let it be whatever it was and still post it!

Thank you Heather so much!

Gianna June 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Oh, I’ve been meaning to tell you.
Yesterday I was folding the laundry and I asked my youngest daughter to give me the socks. And she threw them at me.
Immediately, I got super irritated and spit out a reprimand.

And then, I paused.
Thought about your boys.
And I threw them back at her.
And she threw them back at me.
And I threw them back at her.
And it was an awesome 2 minutes! We were giggling and laughing and talking!

And I then I had to go rescue her brother who had escaped outside while we were playing!
Gianna recently posted..Night Owl

Janelle D June 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm

This is such an inspiring post. By changing our reaction to events, we can change the outcome. So powerful.
Janelle D recently posted...

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