A Lesson on Grace From a Five Year Old

lesson on grace

Sometimes I get things right.

Most of the time though I fumble through this parenting gig, picking myself up as I go, dusting myself off, and trying again.

Today I learned a lesson in grace, and I learned this lesson from my five year old.

I like to think I have a grace filled home.  I try not to be a hot headed mama and wife that flies off the handle at the smallest things, but sometimes like today I fail.  Sometimes I get a gentle reminder of my true brokenness, and sometimes I get it slapped right across my face.


A morning person I am not.

Anyone who knows me well knows that.  My husband graciously lets me veg on the couch for at least fifteen to twenty minutes before communicating.  :)  I try to get up before the kids so I can gradually come out of my sleepy stupor instead of having ten million demands fired at me as my brain says, “DOES NOT COMPUTE!  MUST HAVE QUIET!”

This morning I was in my normal sleepy hazy state staring in the distance while my two year old sat at the end of the couch watching Phineas and Ferb.  I could already tell that I was a grump and had not had enough alone time.  My daughter’s favorite blue flower headband that she wears nearly every day was laying on the couch next to my son.  He started playing with it, and really I should have known better.  He doesn’t have the nickname of The Destroyer around here for nothing.


I suddenly hear, *SNAP* and then “Oh no…”

I look over and see the favorite headband snapped in two resting in my son’s hands.

I just knew my daughter would be crushed.  I was so irritated because things get broken at my house almost daily and it’s extremely frustrating.  Why can’t we have anything nice???

I quickly jerked the broken headband out of his hand.  “Why did you do this?”  (Dumbest parenting question ever!)  Truthfully I knew he didn’t actually intend to break it, so I don’t even know why it bothered be so much.  It was just a headband, but I think it was the fact that I was so sure of my daughter’s reaction to her broken favorite headband that irritated me so much.

My son pushed out his lip and dropped his head.

As my husband came in the room and asked what happened, I flippantly tossed the broken pieces to him and said sarcastically, “Your son broke something else again!”

Then the tears came pouring out of my little boy.  He felt so bad.

At this point we had made quite a commotion in the living room which piqued my five year old’s curiosity so she came galloping in the room to find out what was happening.

“What’s wrong with Eli?”  she asked concerned.

“He broke your headband, babe.”

“Which one?”

“Your favorite blue flower one.  I’m sorry.”


What came next shocked me and truly changed my entire attitude in a split second.

She did not get upset about the broken headband.  She did not pout.  She did not cry.  She did not retaliate.  SHE SAW HER BROTHER.  She saw that he was upset and she consoled him.

“That’s ok, Buddy.  I know you didn’t mean to.  Are you ok?”  Then she sat beside him and held him making sure he knew that she wasn’t mad.

A lesson on grace

Little old mama sat in my convicted puddle of goo at this point.  How mature of my daughter.  How gracious of her.  How loving of her and such a lesson that it taught me.

First of all, like I said in the beginning of this story, I had my own sin and brokenness slapped across my face.  Ouch!  Shouldn’t I be the mature one here and not my five year old?

Secondly, she modeled so perfectly the importance of relationships over things and circumstances.  I’m sure she was disappointed over the loss of her favorite headband, but it was more important to her to restore the relationship between her and her brother.  His little sensitive heart was hurting and she had enough wisdom to know that the proper response at that moment was one of grace and love.

Nothing like a good old life lesson to wake you up in the morning.  I try so hard to model godly behavior to my kids and teach them the things of God, but many times my brokenness and need for Jesus is put on display for all to see.  The Lord gently guides me back with such grace, often like today through the eyes of a five year old.


For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23-24


  1. Ashley Book says

    Tears Tears Tears!!!! You seriously just made me cry!!!! That is truly amazing of Bailey!! And you know what else? I see a lot of Bailey in you personality wise!! You were just as thoughtful, sweet, and forgiving too at that age!! I love you girl!! Regardless of what happened you are still 10x the mother than some of these women who pose to be!! Keep living for and loving Christ and he’ll take care of the rest!! xoxoxoxo Ashley Book

  2. Linda says

    That is so sweet! Don’t be so hard on yourself Tara I go through this daily as well and trust me God knows the deepest parts of our heart and He knows we are human and we are gonna mess up but what an awesome reminder He gives us with our 5 year olds she loved on her little brother just like He loves on us !

  3. Estelene Liggett says

    Ashley is right. When you were Bailey’s age, you would have done the same thing. But I am so glad her grace slapped you across your face, because when you were even younger than Bailey, you slapped me many times. It is hard to accept the fact that there are times when we learn a valuable lesson from and through our little children. But Jesus told us that we should be like little children, forgiving, loving, not holding a grudge, etc. From the day you were born, I knew you were special. Now my grand-daughter is as special as you. I am so proud of Bailey, and I am proud of you and Ken. She didn’t learn grace on her own. Now if you will excuse me, I think I will wipe away my tears. I love all of you.

  4. says

    Wow! What a blessing to read! Isn’t it wonderful that God’s Holy Spirit uses us in spite of ourselves?!! This is the way of true sanctification is it not? Yet, I also can’t help but think that in spite of your failures God has used your efforts to create a home of grace to make a mark on your kiddo’s lives (as you saw so clearly here). Your daughter has seen grace expressed somewhere and likely it was because of what you and your husband try to practice on a daily basis. Be encouraged and “keep trusting in the One who keeps us trusting!”

  5. says


    I FINALLY made my way to your blog to look around and do some reading. What a blessing! I love this post, your desire to be a godly woman and mother, and your realization that you (and ME) are hopeless without the daily dependence on God for … EVERYTHING, even our response to broken headbands.

    I don’t have children, but God has no end to what He can use to reach us. A year or so ago, the Lord spoke to my heart as I sat and watched my German Shepherd react to a situation. (I won’t leave the link on your site, but if you want to read it, it’s under “Faith and Encouragement” and the post is titled “A Hobby, A Passion … Or an Idol? …”

    I now have another blog to faithfully follow.


    • Tara says

      Please leave the link, Holly! It will save me the trouble of searching for it, and I’d love to read it. I’m sure others who stumble on this post would love to as well. :) Thank you for the sweet comment.


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