Thursday, October 28, 2010

Order In Our Home-- a short series (part 2)

(part 1)

The tattling was climbing to  a new level.  Either that or at seven months pregnant, my tolerance level was inching downward.  I think it was a little of both, but as I was awoken from a much-needed nap for the third or fourth time on a sweltering hot summer afternoon only to be told, "Mama, he won't play with me," I suspected something needed to change.  Then later when my back was turned, another scuffle broke out.  One said a brother punched him and I knew that no one punched in our as I was trying to sort out stories and dig for the truth, I knew something needed to change. 

Quite by accident, I stumbled on an article about discord among siblings and the Biblical way to solve disagreements.  Within hours, we had started to apply the principles to our own home.  Not only are we applying the teachings of Christ, but the sense of order is welcome in this area!

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. (Matthew 18:15)

It works this way: if Gavin offends Owen by taking away a toy or not listening when he talks or bumping into him without saying sorry, Owen is to quietly confront Gavin himself.  He can say, "Gavin, I was playing with that first.  Will you please give it back?" or "Gavin, do you know you just hurt me?"  It must be said in kind voice and it must be said to Gavin, not brought straight to me.  This takes the pressure off of me, keeps me from hearing petty complaints, and builds camaraderie among brothers. 

But if he will not listen, take one or two others along.  (Matthew 18:16)

The "others" in our home setting are Brian and me.  If Owen brings an issue to Gavin and Gavin ignores it or does not make it right, Owen is then allowed to bring his problem to one of us (again, in a non-whiny voice).   Once it is in our hands, we can discipline the offender as needed. 

It is still a work in progress for sure!  Many, many days, I have to walk the kids through each step.  When Maddie runs to me complaining that Benjamin took the stuffed animal she was playing with, I ask, "Did you talk to him about it first?"  I remind her to use a kind voice and not accuse.  And should Benjamin refuse to give back the toy, I remind her to come back to me and explain the problem.

Today one child bumped another child's sore mouth.  The offender did it quite by accident while playing and apologized immediately.  The hurt child mumbled a few words of forgiveness, but the throb in his mouth fueled his desire for revenge.  He decided to tattle to me.  The child whose apology had been shunned ended up in tears, with hurt feelings and fearing a possible punishment.  I explained that sometimes we need to forgive someone even when we don't want to.  I explained that when I ask Jesus to forgive me, He does it unconditionally, even though my sin hurts Him.  It is kept between me (the offender) and Him (the offended).  Jesus will never dig up that sin again later or broadcast what I've done to others. 

It is simply the order of mercy, forgiveness, and grace.


  1. We've been working through the same process with Emahry and Jonathan. As difficult as it is sometimes we know the reward will be worth all of the effort!

  2. Man, oh man! This is a new and constant battle in our home.... wise and needed words of advice. And like always, I wish you lived closer! :)

  3. Thank you for sharing. We need to start implementing this as well. I'm tired of the petty arguments that they could be solving on their own.

    Glad to know it's not just my kids who steal toys from each other!

  4. Oh, I love this plan! It is so very wise. And why shouldn't it be when it is directly from the "only wise God"?


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