Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Used The Jedi Approach

The arguing was driving me up the wall.  My boys had been at it all morning. They were arguing about everything.  After several warnings had gone completely unheeded, they had pushed me to the brink.  So, I stood up determining to put a stop to the nonsense.  I walked into the bedroom, opened my closet door and pulled out the thing that would put an end to all the arguing.  Yep, my robe would do the trick.

I strapped it on, located the closest lightsaber, checked the mirror to make sure I looked good in my Jedi attire, and walked back into the living room.  I then declared war on the arguing subjects and for the next few minutes engaged in one of the most intense lightsaber fights ever.  I fought valiantly but the two of them proved to be more than I could handle.  I took a lightsaber in the side followed by one to the neck.  I wanted to continue, but everyone knows you can't survive those kinds of blows, so I fell to the ground in defeat.  When the dust had cleared the arguing was gone and laughter filled the room. As a matter of fact, those same two boys who moments earlier acted like they couldn't stand each other were celebrating their joint victory with one another.   

Now, I don't always use the Jedi approach.  As a matter of fact, this was my first time using that technique.  Most of the time its a tough scolding followed by grounding or other forms of discipline.  This day however, I went another route.  And, it worked.  The atmosphere in the home changed.  Imagine that, a 15 minute make believe light saber battle and the atmosphere in our home was changed. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

I'm a little over 11 years into this daddy thing, and I'm still learning on the go.  Some days I get it right and some days I get it wrong. Sometimes I forget that my role as dad is to correct wrong behavior not simply punish it.  Believe me, there is a huge difference.  It's easy to lay down the law, but it takes a bit more effort to be engaged and relational.  The latter doesn't exclude discipline, it just understands that discipline is simply a tool and not the goal.

I could have scolded my boys that day, sent them to their room, and grounded them.  At least the room I was in would have been free of the conflict.  But the longer I live the more I learn that life is not just about me. I didn't just want silence, I wanted to see the two warring mini-mes at peace with one another.  I wanted to see them getting along.  It's amazing how me simply challenging them to a lightsaber battle transformed these two opponents into a team.  Instantly they became a united force working together for a common goal.  Now, if I could just bottle that up and have them take a dose of that whenever they are at odds with one another.

Scripture instructs us to, "train up a child in the way that they should go and when they are old they won't depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).  That "training" is so much more than demanding compliance to a set of rules.  It requires more than demanding obedience because "I said so."  Sometimes it requires the time to explain the "why."  This training is about creating an atmosphere of honor and respect so they can see firsthand what a biblical model is in regards to how we interact with others.  It's about so much more than demanding they get along, its about showing them how to get along.

I am less interested in making my boys get along and more interested in them wanting to get along.  That will never happen if I choose to be a relationally detached dictator.  Therefore, I'll choose to get out of my recliner and strap on a lightsaber, or put on a batman mask, or pick up a football.  Whatever it takes to train up my boys in the way that they should go.  And for the record, this Jedi could have taken them both down, but shhh, don't tell them.  They are convinced they really beat me, "together." And that is far more important than me proving my superiority in wielding a lightsaber.

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