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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Peacemaking

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
~Matthew 5:9

When I was in college, I wanted to help save the world.  Scenes from foreign wars, homeland strife, global human suffering made my heart pound with frustration.  These days, I still shake my head in disbelief and frustration when I hear or read about the calamitous things people bring on one another.  But I am now the mother of three young children.  Helping to save the world would be nice, I sigh.  But there just doesn't seem to be enough time to fit that in between diaper changes and story time.  *Double sigh.*  After all, what do the day-in-and-day-out duties of mothering young children have in common with bring about world peace?  Precious little, I disparagingly critique.  

On the other hand, as I read the Beatitudes I wonder, how hard can peacemaking be, really?  Peace seems to be everyone's bumper sticker. It is certainly in vogue to proclaim it, so much so that the word sounds almost cliche at times.  I'm certainly not waging any wars, am I?  That makes me a peacemaker, right?  This peace thing sounds simple enough to me.

~~~

Today was a tremendously difficult day of parenting for me.  There has been a string of whining, talking back and pouting running its course through our house.  I have yet to figure out how to deal with this behavior effectively.   As a result, the poor behavior seems to be building on itself rather than receding.  Fellow parents likely know the feeling, as well as where this is going.  

This afternoon I boldly took all three children out for an errand.  G-Bear and E-Bear need new sock-less summer shoes, as they have outgrown last year's pairs.  Because of our small budget for new material goods, or any non-consumable good for that matter, this shopping trip was a special treat in my mind.  T and I had picked out a particularly cute and practical style to get for them. I was excited to bless my kids with new shoes as we arrived at the shoe store.  E-Bear and I quickly found a pair we both loved.

I was quite put off when instead of sharing in my excitement, my eldest responded with a string of whining and pouting.  I had one type of shoes in mind and she, another.  To my dismay, there was no end to her objections to my shoe suggestions.  There were refusals to try on pairs I presented and even dramatic tripping and falling acts when I asked her how the shoes fit on her feet.   

The armies were facing off on opposing hills.  An epic battle was building.


I took a deep breath.  

"G-Bear, it sounds like these shoes don't fit your feet.  I don't want to get you shoes you don't like, and I won't get you shoes that hurt your feet.  Maybe we will find you a pair another time."  

Arrrrhhhh, I wanted to scream!  You have no summer shoes!  These are adorable, functional, sturdy and reasonably priced!  We are sooooo fortunate to get to be buying new shoes!  It has taken so much energy, planning and perfect timing for me to get everyone out of the house by myself!  There are millions of children in this world who don't get new shoes when they need them! 

Another deep breath.

We stopped at one more store.  The scene was similar.  But then G-Bear saw the style of shoes she had in mind.  They were available in her size and very inexpensive.  Naturally, when she tried them on, she could walk perfectly.

ARRRRRRHHHHH, I wanted to scream!  You don't need shoes like these!  These are not the kind we should be getting for you!  You have not cooperated!  You do not deserve to get these shoes!

My army's arsenal was poised, ready to strike and crush the resistance.

I took a deep breath.
I lowered my arsenal and spoke gently to my daughter.

"G-Bear, I am glad we have found a pair of shoes that fit and you like so well.  Unfortunately, these are not they everyday summer shoes that we need to get you.  You can use these shoes to play at school in the sandbox tomorrow.  I hope you can cooperate another day to find everyday summer shoes to wear."

~~~

On our way to the car, I suddenly realized why peacemakers are blessed and called children of God.  Peacemaking is not easy work, it is no cliche, no bumper sticker does it justice.  Totalitarians and toddlers are both masters of crossing boundaries and testing limits; justice and formation cannot simply be cast aside.  I realized that the peacemaking of the Beatitudes, and the blessing of pursuing it, applies just as much to parenting toddlers as it does to nation building.  And somedays, whether parent or president, it feels easier to wage war than peace.  Peacemaking takes patience, selflessness, humility, mercy, forgiveness, and wisdom.  I have a lot of of growing to do in those areas.  Heaven help me.  

Motherhood has more to do with saving the world than I thought.  





1 comment:

Daily Morning Coffee said...

Wow!!! So sweet and cute post. Loved it. thanks for sharing.

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