Tuesday, September 8, 2015

You are Not Going to Believe This

"Stop it! PLEASE! Stop it! Give that back!" my six year old said to one of his brother's classmates. A few of the moms and I had decided to take some time to organize the classroom after school so all of our kids were gathered around a big table for lunch and a movie. Five minutes in, there was a conflict.

One of the preschoolers had grabbed a crayon out of my son's hand and didn't want to return it. The preschooler had been listening in co-op for hours and he was at his limit. He wanted to do what he wanted to do. (I, too, have this feeling on a regular basis.) My son was visibly frustrated. "Mommy! He just took that crayon right out of my hand!"

I thought for a moment - I wasn't in teacher mode anymore and I did not want to interfere. I also wanted my son to figure out how to resolve it if he could. I hung back for a minute and gave my son an understanding smile. "That must have been so frustrating." 

He looked at me and I watched a decision form in his eyes. He turned to his friend. "You know what? You're not going to believe this but I'm going to share my snacks with you. Even though you took the crayon, I'm going to give you some of my goldfish." He grabbed a handful and dropped them in front of his friend. They both visibly relaxed as they ate the snack and the conflict dissipated.

"Luke, that was really kind of you. I'm proud of you. Really proud," I told him. And I was. I can't say that I would have been able to do the same thing. 

When someone wrongs me, I get so caught up in the unfairness of the situation that I can only feel self-riteousness. I want to prove my point. I want them to know that they hurt me. My son showed me that the higher road is always better. When we put their interests above ours, even for a tiny thing, we show them that we care. We meet them where they are. We build trust. We disengage from the conflict. There are times when we must address a conflict more directly but we will never get anywhere if the other person doesn't understand that we are coming from a place of love. 

Do you have any conflicts in your life today? How can you approach that person and spend more time trying to understand than trying to be understood? 

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