Our kids are in an international (read non-religious) school, so there is all manner of behavior that goes on. We are doing our best to teach our kids to treat others respectfully even when kids are behaving inappropriately. I've talked to them a lot about the difference between rejecting the person and rejecting their actions. For instance, if a kid tends to be a bully, I encourage them not to label them "a bully", but to try and figure out why they might be acting that way, and perhaps think of ways they can help that child act differently. Either way, they know that they are never ever to treat others unkindly, no matter what. We've talked about the fact that many people in life will not act nicely, but because we follow Jesus, we will not respond the same way.
Today as we left school, Nic said goodbye to one of his classmates who was sitting on the school-bus. The little boy (who is around 7 probably) responded by sticking his tongue out and raising his middle finger. Nice! I wanted to climb on the bus and give that little boy a piece of my mind. Thankfully, both my kids are blissfully unaware of what the second gesture means.
It has been interesting because Nic has gotten quite protective of his big sister, and he gets very concerned if anyone is teasing or bothering Meg. He considers it his duty to intervene.
Anyway, I took the opportunity to have another conversation with them about treating others with respect; reacting differently because that's what Jesus wants us to do. And even though I'm less than thrilled that 7-year-olds are giving my son the finger, I am grateful that my kids are learning to show the love and compassion of Jesus to others from an early age.