“Did my coming home from camp ruin everything?” asked TTO yesterday as we dropped the girls off at their typing camp.
His first morning back after 2 weeks of golfing in the beautiful Ozark mountains was peppered with some major manipulation sister wars. For those of you with sisters, or with more than one daughter, I’m thinking you might be familiar with sister wars. The ones ignited by incredibly petty infractions such as (in our case yesterday) one passing the other on her bike so she could be first; or one “helping” the other situate her bag of donut holes – an act of “kindness” that forced the other to defensively yank the bag away and spill her confections on the ground; or both refusing to compromise, apologize or forgive. Oh yeah, there’s usually lots of blaming, eye rolling, and super powerful ignoring.
It makes for a long day. Poor TTO, having been absent from the battles, felt the heaviness as he molded back into the fold of our imperfect home. It wasn’t his fault. It’s a big fat dose of human nature … girl human nature.
Of course I stuck my foot right smack dab in the middle – as I should … because I’m a mom … and a sister (so I know their games). My girls, generally quick to recognize, ‘fess up and fix their momentary problems with each other, dug in their heals and held their ground. It took all day, but later that night after lots of tears and manipulation, the battles were done. Admissions and apologies flowed. I love that they tend toward Paul’s wise admonition in Ephesians, “…do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
But it makes me sad to watch them, as they’re getting older, stick their spoons into the mix with greater frequency and give into the selfishness that fuels sister wars. Hormones and life changes don’t help, but they’ve got to learn how to rise above the temptations and to let minor infringements be just that … to let the waves be small instead of growing them to tidal size.
For my part, I’ve got to get to the place where my involvement steers clear of referee (a no win role) and focuses more on redirection. Reminding them who they are and the truth on which their relationship is founded. In order to do so, I have to constantly park my own temptation to selfishly enforce peace – to control the situation – to put them in their place.
As I logged onto email after my 2-day trip, I saw something interesting on the yahoo home page, an interview they did with Warren Buffett (who, by the way, is in the process of giving away 99% (!) of his vast fortune to charity).
“What’s the best advice Warren Buffett has ever received? You might be surprised: It has nothing to do with money.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo! News and the Huffington Post, he credited his father with teaching him how to live, and explained that all parents can make a “better human being”:
“The power of unconditional love. I mean, there is no power on earth like unconditional love. And I think that if you offered that to your child, I mean, you’re 90 percent of the way home. There may be days when you don’t feel like it — it’s not uncritical love; that’s a different animal — but to know you can always come back, that is huge in life. That takes you a long, long way. And I would say that every parent out there that can extend that to their child at an early age, it’s going to make for a better human being.”
So here’s a MOAT shout out to Mr. Buffett for directing us to one of life’s greatest secrets. May I take it a step further and mention that I can only go so far in the unconditional love area (and boy do I need to continually put forth the effort to love them that way). The greatest gift I can give my child is to let them see my love will never satisfy their very real need to be unconditionally loved. Then point them to and teach them about the only One who fully meets that need, Jesus Christ. Anchored in that truth, maybe they can spend a little more time spreading the love to each other and steer clear of the sister war battle lines.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
(sorry no pics… I couldn’t get blogger to upload today :)