Thursday, February 4, 2016

Honor & Squabble

I have been listening to a seminar entitled Mother's Law by one of my favorite young mom writers, Rachel Jankovic.  I love that she talks more about the theology behind mothering, than the actual mechanics of a day.  It is helping me to work out some of the mechanics better in my own little world. 

One of the lessons for me as I've listened to her talk (and seen her writing) is the impact of the use of story in parenting.  I might be a little more tuned into this because of my recent interest in the Read Aloud Revival podcast. I've been thinking more about how story shapes us.  And what a tremendous medium it has been in my own life for deep truths to take root.  

So I've been experimenting a bit with the boys as we work through some issues in the brotherhood.  We're going through a season when it just seems so much harder to get along.  The love is intense, but so are the squabbles. "Live peaceably" is pretty much the verse of the month around here. One of the ways we're dialoguing about living in unity is through two friends we created.  Their names are Honor and Squabble.  Yesterday Squabble threw an all out fit over a purple striped sock. It was outrageous. And the boys loved it.  It's opening up good conversation and reminders for us, without the feeling that I'm nagging or preaching a lot.

Here's the start up story for Honor and Squabble. I have a feeling they are going to be our story-friends for a long time yet.

There once were two young knights.  Their names were Honor and Squabble.  Both of the young knights were very good at fighting.  And they had ample opportunity in their land for there were many wars raging.  However, they tended to fight about different things.  

Squabble was inclined to playground arguments about trifles.  He preferred a good fight over who had thrown the sand into a baby’s hair as much as a rift over who had reached the finish line first in a grand race among the boys. If someone took his favorite spoon at dinner, Squabble might fly into a rage and even shed tears. He didn’t mind to get a fellow in trouble either, he was as good at starting fights for others as he was finishing them up himself.  If someone bonked into another boy, and they both seemed not to notice, Squabble was quick to point it out and make sure that everyone felt the seriousness of it.  

Honor, on the other hand, preferred to save his strength for a different kind of fight.  Once, when his brother crashed his cycle, he rode as fast as he could to untangle him from the wreckage.  He helped him up and gave him a kind word to lift his spirits.  His mother needed him to save her from the distress of a diaper-change gone awry, so he fought his way through the living room forest to find her the wet wipes.  Once, he was tempted to lie so that he could win a game.  But, knowing that it takes more courage to tell the truth, he admitted that he had landed on the terrible, sinking snake. He took last place in the game but felt he could shake hands with dignity in the end. If ever anyone needed help, no matter how difficult, they knew they could rely on Honor.  

So it went that the boys fought on, in their own ways, until they were men. The fights looked a little different when they had grown up, but in some ways, they were very much the same. 

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