Makin’ things right…
A lot of frustrations can be avoided in a family if the children can trust the parents to make things right. A while back we had a little incident that I thought I would share because it will give some insight.
So Blissy is a big York Peppermint Patty fan. They are her soft spot. When Daddy wants to say I love you, he brings home a big peppermint patty. When she passes an exam, she likes to reward herself with one. And for her sixteenth birthday, a friend gave her an entire bag full. That was a precious stash.
Now in a three bedroom house, there’s not much room for private stashes of anything, but Bliss did her best. She hid them inside a wooden box, above where she thought any wee ones could reach. But apparently, a certain little brother has a nose for chocolate, and he sniffed it out. One by one he ferreted away her little patties. Caught once by Bliss, he apologized and got a consequence. Caught a second time by a bigger brother, little brother promised not to go near them again. She moved her stash, he found them again, and when no one was looking, this little muffin took the last giant patty she had saved.
Now, to her credit, Bliss had been extremely patient and forgiving. But when she went to sit and enjoy her afternoon tea and the last of the small patties had disappeared and the big one was gone too…well…that was just too much. She came to my room with an empty box and a very sad face. I was just pleased she hadn’t lost her temper the way I probably would have if I were her! So I went to grab the guilty party and have a chat.
He began with denial. Eventually, he fessed up. And he had to get into some pretty tough trouble. But just a punishment for the stealing and then denial wasn’t enough. After a long hug and some snuggles I asked him if he thought Bliss was happy. He looked over at her and said no. I asked him how she could be made happy again, and he answered that he could give her more peppermint patties. I said that might help, but the reason these were special was because they were also a gift from a friend…so that it wasn’t just the candy that was a treat but the fact that this friend had given them on her special birthday.
I told little brother that he was going to have to work to make the money to buy more peppermint patties. Then he would have to tell the friend what he had done. And apologize to this friend. And ask the friend to please bring some more patties over with the wee brother’s (hard earned) money. Now this little brother realized a bit more how special these candies were when it was going to involve him apologizing to Blissy’s friend as well. And suddenly, Blissy was happy again.
Not that I get this right every time...I mean the judge and jury is pretty busy around here sorting out all kinds of issues. But I generally try to really get to the heart of the matter each time and resolve not only the wrong done but make sure it’s made right. Some days, these conversations make dinner late, or run well into nap time. They are never convenient. Most times the decisions are not that easy. But in general, the children know that whatever wrong happens, the situation will be made right, and that avoids a lot of drama. It gives the big kids patience. And it makes me realize we need to send a kid to law school. 😉
At the end of all the discussion, I told this little brother that what bothered me most was not so much that he had stolen the candies, but that he never asked for some of his own. I pointed out that just last week on a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Crickie got tictacs at the gas station because she asked. All he had to do was ask, any day of the week, and Daddy would have gladly given him any kind of candy he wanted.
So many times, as believers, we do the same thing. We covet something someone else has instead of just asking our Father for what we really want. And He always stands ready to give. Which is something this tiny brother learned when Blissy’s friend came back with plenty of patties for both he and Blissy!