Choosing to be the Peacemaker

Posted by  | Monday, August 29, 2011  at 11:14 AM  
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9

Do your kids argue? Do they fight over toys or whose turn it is? What do you do? How do you approach the situation and what is your solution?

Here's an example I'm sure we can all relate to:
You are in the kitchen getting dinner ready (or, maybe even on the computer looking at Facebook!!). Your kiddos are in the other room and you hear an argument errupt. They are going back and forth with "It's my turn" "No, I had it first!" etc. When you walk into the room, they are both pulling on two ends of a toy and yelling at each other.

Approach #1: The judge.
You separate them and ask them, "who had it first?" Then you listen to each of them tell their version of the events that led up to the screaming. You have to decide which one sounds more plausible and give the toy to that kid. Queue screaming child.

Approach #2: The mean mommy.
You take the toy away and say that no one can play with it. Queue two screaming children.

Approach #3: Find the peacemaker.
You take the toy and ask the question, "which is more important - your brother or the toy?" (insight into my family: Joel always says the toy). Correct or encourage that the brother is more important than the toy. Then ask, "who is going to choose to be the peacemaker?" Someone will volunteer - I have never had neither volunteer. One always chooses to raise their hand. The peacemaker gives the toy to the other sibling. The peacemaker is praised for his choice. We even have sticker charts that say "Samuel is a Peacemaker" on top for him to give himself a sticker when he chooses to be the peacemaker.

The third approach is my choice for a number of reasons.
#1 - It's biblical. The Bible teaches us to be peacemakers.
#2 - It's realistic. As adults, arguments are best diffused by someone choosing to be the peacemaker.
#3 - It doesn't require you as the parent to know the backstory. You don't have to make a judgment between the two children.
#4 - It allows one child to have the first turn with the toy. And the child that chose to be the peacemaker receives your praise.

These ideas came from both Ginger Plowman's "Don't Make Me Count to Three" and Susan Hunt's "My ABC Bible Verses" Letter B.

As further encouragement to you, this lesson spoke to me just last night. My husband and I were not getting along so well yesterday. He took the kids to the park and I went to the grocery store. I was recounting to myself all the ways that he was in the wrong and really making me upset. (I'm sure a similar train of thought was running through his head). And then the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of this lesson. God doesn't want to hear the backstory. He doesn't want my list of why I am right and Ed is wrong. He offers us a choice: Who will choose to be the peacemaker? I knew that I couldn't walk away from that choice. I had to choose to be the peacemaker. God's grace is so awesome and His word is so true that it applies to mom just as much as it applies to child!


Wendy said...

Leah! I have been a silent reader for years on this blog, but this post has made me come out of hiding! :)

I am SO SO thankful for this advice! I've been dealing with this issue all summer with my 2-yr-old and 4-yr-old and I'm just about out of patience. I've tried everything I can think of and nothing seems to be working. This morning I spent a lot of time praying and asking God for insight into their little hearts and a way to help them do better at self control. I'm so excited to try this with them!

God used you to encourage me today. Thanks for being so honest and straightforward with such a practical step-by-step and Godly approach.


Leah said...

Thanks so much for "coming out of hiding"! I have been really blessed by this approach to arguments and I hope that it will work in your home as well. I will be praying for you tonight.

The Jones Family said...

Encouraged and motivated! Thanks for using such practical examples and being vulnerable.

Nungari M. said...

Lovely- I think I have been working as a mean mommy! now I know... I have struggled with this a lot! Thanks for sharing. Applying it right away!

Go Long! Go Green! said...

Wow, this was an amazing post!! We are getting ready to have baby #2 and this is going to be perfect. Also, I love that you translated it to your marriage ... something I need to do more often instead of demanding to be "right." thanks so much for sharing!! you have a new blog reader now too! :)

AIMA said...

I just discovered your blog, and I love this post. We are working on peacemaking in our house, too. After reading your post, I have decided to go make a peacemaker sticker chart. Thank you!

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