Using Discernment: Reflections from Irene Kano
Written by Irene Kano, Mauka Campus Principal
A few weeks ago, I found myself face to face with a child whose face was dripping with sweat and bright red with anger. He had been “sent to the Principal’s office” for a recess altercation where he had punched his classmate. Violence is entirely unacceptable, and as the Principal, it is part of my job to enforce school rules to keep all students safe. But as a parent and teacher who is tremendously thankful for the grace and patience of my Heavenly Father, I have learned the importance of taking the time to ask God for discernment and trust His insight to guide me so that I discipline children the way He teaches me.
Over the years I’ve learned that when supervising kids, we often only see the adverse reaction, but not necessarily the cause, of an altercation. The boy who was hit initially cried victim and the red-faced boy has been in my office a few times before. But when we got to the bottom of it, the “victim” was the one who had initiated the fight. I then had the opportunity to talk with both boys about how each of them was wrong in the situation, and explain how they shared the responsibility in the sinful act. It is easy for us to jump to conclusions and label our children or colleagues as “difficult” or “problems.” But when we do so, we limit our fellow image-bearers to our skewed perceptions of them and don’t leave room for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and hearts. Discernment, grace, and the patience to understand are especially crucial when disciplining our kids and confronting our brothers and sisters when we’ve been wronged. I’m still learning to do this, and when I don’t get it right, I’m thankful for the reminder that God sees us entirely. In our best and in our worst, He remains loving and just.