Disclaimer: Recently someone at our church preached a sermon that was so convicting to me about the pastor and his "fish bowl" life and famiy and the example they are to be. I often feel inadequate to fulfill the calling before me as a ministry wife and mother. Having said that I'm aprehensive to blog things like this for fear of what people may think of me. And for those of you who have seen me know I'm not qualified to model this! This blog is a scrapbook of sorts and a journal of our life. I never want to come across as arrogant or a know-it-all. So if this doesn't concern you or you're not concerned- please stop reading! However, I've found blogging to be a way to connect/ interact with other moms and like-minded people sharing much of the same experiences as I am this season of my life. In that way it's been very helpful, encouraging, and at times edifying. So that is my intent with the following thoughts.
I sure don't claim to have this down, but I really had great practice growing up in a SMALL trailer (yes, I grew up barefoot in a trailer park in GEORGIA!) with a family of six. All 4 of us kids were in one tiny room with all our earthly possessions until I was 12 (my mom was an expert at using every square inch, but that's for another post). The close proximity and our Godly parents forced us to be best friends- and it worked! There were no corners to send us to. We had to play together and do it with a smile. My brother would carry my dolls on his train to the restraunt where my sister was cooking and my little brother was usually just destroying things. :) fun times. sniff. sniff. My mom was quick to jump right into the midst of our conflicts and go through a whole process of reconciliation. I remember trying so hard to make everyone else whisper our grievences so that mom wouldn't get involved! It usually didn't work though. There she was at the first unkind word teaching us and showing us how to love each other.
Believe it or not there are times right now with my kids when I just smile and say, "they're getting it!" (I just have to remember that during the not so harmonious times!) This takes LOTS of work, time, prayer, and attention. I DO NOT like to hear parents say when they hear a squabble in the other room, "they'll work it out!" We want to teach our children to Biblically solve conflicts and that means at this young age stepping in every time (just like with discipline, CONSISTENCY is best) their is a disagreement and even before it gets to that point sometimes. At the first sound of disagreement (with Jonas it's a harsh cutting word, with Ella right now it's a sharp whine) I have to stop what I'm doing (cooking, cleaning, nursing the baby, you know the routine!) and quickly give attention to the controversy. These are perfect teaching times! Let's take advantage of them.
The following are some verses that we could use:
"The eyes of the Lord are everywhere seeing the good and the wicked." Prov 15:3 - We're trying to teach that God is watching and listening even when mommy and daddy aren't there. Obey and be kind to one another to please Him! That is to be their motivation.
"Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving each other even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Eph 4:32 -Ella often YELLS this at Jonas. That's not the point, but she's learning it! The nursery workers tell me she uses it there also. :)
Rm 12:10 teaching to prefer one another
As conflicts arise when the kids are playing together to consistently take time for go through a whole process is important!*Point out the sin
*teaching to apologize- humble themselves, submission
*teach to accept apology
*reinforce the tenderhearted love of forever friends with "I love you's" and hugs
*show/teach a better way to play together-help them to have fun together-using the right words and behavior for everyone to enjoy the moment
Remember that this is a process. It will take time, prayer, and much labor. "Be not weary in well doing... Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
One last thing to leave you with is a reminder to pray often. I call my mom sometimes for advice in different situations and she always says, "did you pray about it?" Some days we may not see much coming from our efforts, but God has promised that if we lack wisdom to ask Him and He'll give it! His Word will not return void.