I was up late last night thinking in my bed. I do that a lot, think. Last night, my thoughts were centered around all the little-kid fights in my house.
I hate these fights. I hate the contention, the noise, the results, and just everything about them.
Then I started to think, "why do people, in general fight?"
I went through a lot of different reasons, and none seemed to fit. After about a half hour pondering it, I stumbled across one that did. I think people fight, in general, because of a lack of graciousness/patience and intelligence.
Why would we go to war as a nation? Well, because politicians can't think of a peaceful solution in time. They could get more time if they were more gracious or patient, and they wouldn't need as much time if they were more intelligent and creative.
The same is true for kids. Kids aren't exactly well known for their intelligence and ability to creatively solve their own problems. My three of my kids feel like that's my job, and take no responsibility for it. Also, children aren't known for their patience either.
I don't think I can eliminate all the fighting in my home, but I think if I teach my kids a bit more graciousness, patience, humility, and creative thinking, I might be able to reduce it significantly.
So, to start, my biggest fight-starter is Y. I started playing a game called "fast grab." I put 11 objects on the ground, and we stare at each other like a game of chicken. Once one person goes for one, we try to grab as many as we can. Whoever grabs the most, wins. Now, I'm much faster and dexterous than a 2-year-old, so I could win any time, but that's the point. It helps remind her that she, literally, can't just take what she wants, and that the only reason she gets anything is if I let her--which I do of course. Combine that with positive encouragement, and it becomes an example of graciousness, and forces her to be patient with the most frustrating thing in her life--herself. She loves it because she gets one-on-one time with a parent, and I hope it's going to work out well for everyone.
I'm still trying to come up with ideas for teaching my kids patience and gratitude. If you have any ideas, please post them in the comments below.