Friday, February 21, 2014

Tummy to Tummy

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I remember taking the palms of my hands and pushing the backs of our children into each others tummies when they were little.  Tummy to tummy and depending on their heights at the time, pouty lip to chest or head.  There they would stand.  Toe to toe.  Neither giving.  Neither extending the olive branch or should I say, “an apology.”
         The picture of children not wanting to say, “I’m sorry” is engrained in my memory.  This week as we have parented our adult children I’ve thought it was easier to press them together and tell them “kiss and make up.”
         You may ask why I’m still parenting grown children who don’t live at home.  The truth is they are asking for help.  They want to get along, they want to make things right but they would rather be “right” than wave the flag of surrender.
         Waving a flag doesn’t mean defeat nor does saying you are sorry mean you are necessarily wrong.  Rather these words and symbols better represent a desire to “get along.”
         As tiny tots and preschoolers parenting often means moving on with an action even when their little hearts don’t agree.  As adults we CAN move along with outside compliance but ultimately our hearts need to agree.
         As our children have grown, I’ve come to realize their disagreements are not my stuff.  They have to work their relationship issues out.  Yes, they can come to us as their parents for guidance, but its not mine to make it right.  I should encourage them, direct them and pray with them.
         I also have to allow them to take responsibility for their actions, reactions, and words.  I can’t make them “hand-shake” or forgive or kiss and make up.  They must choose to work out their disagreements.  They must take responsibility for their decisions. I can pray.  I can listen.  I must come to the point I allow them to work it out.

         I will continue to pray for our children.  Even though I can’t press them together to “kiss and make up” I can allow them to work it out.  For them to take on “their stuff” allows them the choice to change their hearts.  Without changing their hearts they are just being forced tummy to tummy.
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Challenge:  This week as your children squabble help them learn how to work it out together.  The Bible tells us in Matthew to go to the one who has offended us.  Point your children to Christ as the solution and then back to their siblings to work it out.

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