We’ve got three children who are very close together. When they play together, they usually play well, but often we have misunderstandings. Sometimes it’s plain selfishness, like yesterday when one child wanted to play “hurt bird” and the other child wanted to play “camping.” Several attempts at mediation failed, simply because each person insisted that the other person play exactly when and how he or she wanted. Sometimes the problem is a combination of selfishness and misunderstanding.
I’ve been working on helping my kids know what to do when others are selfish or rude. The biggest recurring example is when one child is in the way of another. So I’ve been suggesting that the child who is trying to clear the way actually explain why he wants the other to move. “Please move so I can jump on the beanbag” or “Please move your stroller so I can launch my car into the living room.”
I’ve found that it helps a good deal of the time. It seems to communicate that the request to move is not based on irritable whim, but with good purpose, although admittedly, sometimes even a reason for a request is not enough to overcome selfishness. In those times, parental mediation is often necessary.
So now I’m wondering… is this approach biblical? Should children be kind even if their sibling is being capricious? Is a baseline of “fairness” a good way to teach them that God’s law is far greater than man’s law (you have heard…. but I say unto you….)?