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Around 9:30 Saturday morning, I heard some commotion downstairs. I was feeling horrible, but Linda, my wife, had gone shopping. The crying and irritated voices flared up so I went downstairs and checked up on what was happening.
Our two youngest, 8 and 6, were sitting next to each other at the dining room table with no one else around. Their breakfasts were in front of them, but one could observe that something had happened between the two. As I entered the room, I asked, “What is going on?”
They each started to accuse each other. “He hit me.” “She started it.” It was hard to get the full story. I told each of them to go into the living room. They cried and fussed but went. I went in and saw that one child was sitting down and further instructed her to stand up.￼ I had something I needed to do and told them I would be back in a moment.
When I reentered the room, the two were standing, facing each other. Each was trying to prompt the other to do something.
They had a problem doing what they knew they should do. I did not have to say anything. I only told them that since both of them had done wrong, then each should begin. I promptly started busying myself around the room but kept an eye on them. The younger started apologizing (she started it). Then the older one followed. “Sorry I hit you. Please forgive me.” The little one forgave.
Immediately upon her statement, the older one, all in one swooping motion, hugged and picked up his little sister, and they both fell down on the sofa, laughing together. After they stood up, they held hands, dashed off to the dining room to finish eating breakfast and giggling together as they talked about the plans on what they were going to play together after finishing breakfast. The above photo was taken right after breakfast, while they were playing together. All remorse was gone. They were glad to have settled everything.
And I? I still felt horrible, but was extremely glad they took care of the situation so easily–without one threatening statement. Sinful tendencies cannot be completely stripped away, but when children learn to properly apologize, they learn to clean up their spiritual messes. The house instantly became a big fun room again. They will become good spouses each to his or her own partner in the future because they know how to work through their stubborn fits and moods.
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Pause for Reflection:
What happens when problems develop between your children?
How have you trained them?
Do you exemplify the process of restoration through your harmonious marriage?