Oh, No! I’ve Nitpicked!

mean teacherThere are only a few things I remember about my kindergarten teacher. Besides her name and her making the class take naps at the peak of my energy level, I remember her shadow.

Almost every time I started writing, she would walk toward me. As I listened to the klop, klop, klop of her footsteps coming closer, my heart pounded. When there was silence, I knew she was standing behind me. Her presence casted a shadow over my desk like a monstrous, dark storm cloud.

“Your paper is the wrong way, again,” she would say in the driest, aggravated tone. Then, she would reach down and turn my paper upright. She was bothered by my paper being at a 45-degree angle.

This happened day after day, sometimes a few times a day. The way I angled my paper was natural for me (and is recommended nowadays); but at the time, my teacher thought I was disobediently ignoring her suggestion. And I thought she was nitpicking.

Maybe she was sincerely trying to help me. Maybe she was a nice person and a knowledgeable teacher. And maybe she wanted me to remember her as more than a scary shadow. But, sadly, because she focused more on the position of my paper instead of what I was writing, it’s her shadow along with her constant nitpicking that’s embedded in my memory.

Reflection of the Week:

Just like my kindergarten teacher, parents often nitpick – sometimes unknowingly and with good intention. We worry about little things that may eventually correct themselves. Or, we try to change things that aren’t bothersome to anyone but ourselves. But this can lead to our children having negative thoughts – feeling like they’re not good enough in our eyes. And it can possibly take away from their individuality.

At times, I’ve been guilty of nitpicking. But I’m learning, daily, to bask in God’s peace, let the little things “be”, and enjoy my children just how they are. (And hopefully they’ll remember me as more than a nitpicking, scary shadow. 🙂 )

Scripture of the Week:

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NKJV)


God, give me peace about the trivial things that cause me to nitpick, in Christ Jesus’ name, Amen.


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  1. GUILTY! But like you Angel, I am learning daily to let go and let my children exercise their different abilities… as long as it has no consequence on their relationship with God or eternity, I try not to make it a biggie.

    • Angel Thompson Angel Thompson says:

      Ugochi, I think most of us are guilty. You bring up an excellent point, we should only ignore the little things “as long as it has no consequence on their relationship with God or eternity.” Thank you.

  2. BAM!. Got me! 🙂 Such a good reminder to us all. I am so guilty of this. I’m a slow learner and it took me many, many years. I still do it to my daughter (only sometimes) about the way she holds her pencil. But in light of eternity, as Ugochi said, it doesn’t really matter.

    • Angel Thompson Angel Thompson says:

      I laughed when I read this. I used to spend so much time bothering my son about his pencil grip (poor child), until someone made me realize how bad my own grip is. I had a lot a nerve and no business nitpicking in this area.

  3. This is so me. My kids think I am “OCD” about things at times and they are right. As you mentioned, sometimes it’s just not that big of a deal. I want to create positive memories with and for my kids. This post was so relevant and timely. Thanks!!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post, Angel. Being critical can come so easy, but we must remind ourselves that our children have their own natural bend. Thanks for sharing!

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