Surely there are few things that grate on a parent’s nerves like hearing our children fight with one another.
It’s always the other guy’s fault, of course. He hit me as hard as he could for no reason whatsoever.
Listening to this used to remind me of some Criminal Justice courses I took when I was a deputy sheriff.
Elements of Common law Burglary:
- The breaking
- and entering
- of a dwelling house
- in the nighttime
- with the intent to commit a felony.
It seems the young prosecutors in our house have an instinctive understanding that one must prove all the “elements of the crime” in order to sustain a conviction.
Ah, if only life were really that simple. But it seldom is. Usually, there’s a lot more to it than who started it. Even if that can be determined—and it seldom can—there’s almost always guilt on the part of more than one party.
Ok, Bubba borrowed your toys and left them scattered on the floor of your room. Sure, that’s irritating. But that doesn’t justify your kicking his trash can across his room, scattering used tissues everywhere.
Oh, I remember how it was when I was a kid. When my brother did something I was offended by, it seemed perfectly justifiable to react with something of the same kind. I had no understanding of turning the other cheek. But as a parent—and a Christian parent especially—I am responsible to teach my children that they should do just that. If they don’t, they are guilty of an offense, too.
Strong medicine, and not very tasty to swallow. But that’s the fact of the matter in God’s economy. I’m harder on the guy who commits an unprovoked offense, but reaction carries responsibility with it as well.
Are you teaching your children that there is much more to a conflict than who started it? That starting an argument is disobedience, but that reacting wrongly is disobedience too?