Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Tough Words

It never ceases to amaze me that when I confront my children, who were just yelling and fighting with one another, that each one always has the exact same story to tell, "It's not me. It was all his fault..." These statements are followed up with many more explanations and excuses as to why the first statement each of them made is completely true. Well, thank goodness I asked them what happened!

Earlier while I was finishing some housekeeping chores and my girls were napping, I allowed my boys to play in the backyard. It's a fenced in yard so I feel safe allowing them to play unattended. However, I always (no matter how chilly) have the kitchen window open so I can hear them. Surprise! Surprise! After several minutes, I heard arguing and yelling....not happy, playful sounds. Sometimes I think that my kids enjoy arguing with each other as much as they enjoy playing together. And sometimes, it produces a weariness inside of me. I went out and escorted them both inside. No surprise on their responses to me, "I didn't do anything! He did everything! It was all his fault!" As I sat them down for a time-out together I instructed them to think about how neither of them did anything wrong, yet here they were...both being disciplined.

As I walked into the dining room, away from my sons, the thought immediately occurred to me: they are just like adults, we never think or want to admit that we are the ones guilty of wrong-doing; it's always easier to point a finger. Now, in this case there's a happy ending--or at least a temporary happy ending. They are outside right now constructing some kind of a new bridge or tree house together (always building just like their Dad). I just checked on them moments ago and the report was that they are getting along and doing fine. Now, maybe their problem was swept under the rug or maybe they realized that they both had a hand in their argument and bad behavior and they both were going to have to make some changes if they wanted to play outside any more this afternoon. I think, generally speaking, boys don't hold grudges as long and can get over issues faster than those of us of the female persuasion. (I'm a girl, and I've found this to be true most of the time). But, I also believe that children can much more readily accept that they need to change something to get a different result. As adults, we tend to grow more stubborn and stuck-in-our-ways.

However, back to the beginning of this story--the dilemma. According to Jaden, Luke was wrong. According to Luke, it was all Jaden's fault. I heard the arguing and can verify that they were both guilty of wrong-doing (as am I because I fail to consistently work with them to resolve conflicts in the best way). Honestly, I haven't got it all figured out myself. I'll just be honest here (because if I can't be honest then this is a waste of time): there are times when my husband and I argue and I walk away before it is resolved....I give up. There are times when I know I am wrong, or at least partially responsible, and I take my good ole time to say the tough words, "I am sorry." There are even times when I don't want to receive his apologies. I am guilty, all too often, of pointing the finger at my husband and so readily being able to detail his wrongs to me. What I need to learn to do is to look in the mirror and point the finger at myself and tell myself how I've fallen short! Thank goodness we love each other! Thank goodness for grace and forgiveness--and room for growth! But, truthfully, all too often, we are just as little children in our relationships, "It's all his fault!"

I suppose my own faults seem much more clear to me now, when I see these altercations played out between my children. I see the errors of my ways. I really don't want to pass on judgement, criticism, and unforgiveness to my children. I do not want that to be the legacy I leave for them! Saying "I'm sorry" can be hard...really hard, especially when you want the other person to admit his failures and faults. And sometimes "I'm sorry" does not fix everything. There are those times when saying "I'm sorry" simply opens the door for some real resolve. Resolving matters of the heart can often take a very long time. Biblically speaking, Jesus said that we were to forgive our brother "seventy times seven times." (Matthew 18:22) I think the point Jesus was trying to make was that you will be wronged often and you will need to forgive more times than you can keep track. If I need to forgive someone that often, it's likely that I'm just as often the one who desperately needs forgiveness from those I love. Sometimes "I'm sorry" is just the beginning. But, it is a start. Humility is always a better starting point than superiority.

Well, this lesson was for me today. If I never learn another lesson in marriage, parenting, or any other relationship, I hope that I can at least conquer this one. I hope I can learn to swallow my pride (and that lump in my throat) and say the tough words, "I'm sorry. I was wrong."

No comments:

Post a Comment