Who had it first? Who does it belong to? Where did she find it? What did she do to you after that?
Do you decide for the plaintiff or the defendant? And which one is which anyway?
I used to view my role in sibling disputes more like that of a judge: hear the facts, render a verdict and hand down a sentence.
And then one day, everything began to change When God Turned the Tables on Me.
And now, I am learning, slowly, that being a mama in the midst of little people is more like the role of a marriage counselor than the role of a judge. Sure, I can make a ruling on who gets the ball, who gets to sit there or whose turn is next. That is much simpler and quicker. And it is of value to my children … for about the next 35 seconds until another dispute erupts. Or, I can walk alongside them and teach them how to understand what is going on in their own hearts. I can view each “episode” as a learning opportunity for understanding people, their needs, our needs and our own tendencies. And that is of eternally lasting value.
There are, however, two problems with this second approach. First, it takes a lot longer. It is a lot more challenging mentally, physically and emotionally to really invest into people’s lives, to sit with them in their struggle and to be a safe place for them to turn their hearts inside out and dump everything onto the table for you to peruse.
Secondly, it will inevitably lead to your own journey of self-discovery. You will never be that safe place unless your heart is inside out on the table, too. But hold onto your hat, sister. Once you start this journey, side by side with those little people who live in your home and breathe the same air you breathe, you will never be the same again. It is like drinking from a fire hydrant. So much testing by fire (or by water?) that sometimes you will wish you could go back to being the impartial judge and sentence-declarer.
And this is why we need to – we must – take this journey in community. Will you join us here? Think of this as the counselors’ meeting room. Let us stir one another up to love and good works!