15 minutes better

I found in the last week or so I missed sharing some of my ‘better’ moments with you. Not sure if I’ll do a ‘better’ post every day, but I think I’ll sprinkle them in whenever I get inspired.

Yesterday the kids were outside playing, enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather. All too soon, though, one of my 9 year old sons came in on the brink of tears. It seems that in typical thoughtless little-boy way, he’d thrown a stick, which hit his 10 year old sister in the back.

He tried to tell her that it was an accident. But she was too angry to care. So angry that the culprit fled into the house to avoid her wrath, totally neglecting to say that he was sorry. Which of course did not help her get over her anger at all.

When she came into the house a few minutes later, she seemed angry enough to hold a grudge for the rest of the day. I knew from past experience that she was totally capable of it.

Meanwhile, the other child was penitent, but also wanting to steer far clear of her indignation.

I was determined that our house not feel like a war zone, with kids holding grudges and avoiding each other. I brought the two parties together and insisted on an apology from him and an ‘I forgive you’ from her.

Both were performed while avoiding all eye contact, and my accompanying lecture about forgiveness and love did not soften their body language toward each other. Obviously the rift was not yet mended.

In a burst of frustration (inspiration?) I declared that they were now sentenced to a project together. I marched them into the kitchen, got out a recipe for chapatis (Indian flat bread) and told them to go to it.

They had to be prodded to even begin to speak to each other. The first 5 minutes of the project was extremely quiet. But soon, to my delight, they thawed out and began talking quietly. After 15 minutes they were laughing and chattering. In the process of flinging flour all over the kitchen and frying flatbread on a skillet, they became friends again.

And that was much more than 15 minutes better.

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  1. Great solution!! I wish my boys were old enough for cooking….

  2. Oh, wow. This is one I’ve got to try. I’ve got one who tends to hold grudges and try to “get back” at anyone who hurts her, even by accident. I’ve thought of sentencing bickering children to stay alone in the same room together until they can get along, but I really like this solution much better. It gives them something to focus on besides their anger. Thanks!

  3. Could you share you the recipe for the flat bread? The story made me hungry for some! Thanks!

  4. GREAT SOLUTION! This reminds me of my Aunt. When we were little, if we got in a tiff, she would insist that we “pinky” each other after apologizing. This was a goofy series of gestures we did with our pinky fingers, and inevitably in the process of figuring it out, we would end up laughing and being friends again.

  5. Oh how I sympathise, and I’m so glad your solution worked so brilliantly…

    What a lovely and relieving outcome for all parties.

  6. That reminds me of a time when a freind of ours (the dad) had absolutely had it w/ his boys fighting after an argument which had culminated in one throwing a pair of scissors across the room in anger-yikes! He knew that he had to do something drastic to get them to learn to cooperate so for the remainder of the day, till bedtime, he tied them together at the wrist and they had to do everything cooperatively-it ended up being hilarious and although it was years ago and one is now in college, we STILL all talk about it!!

  7. Great idea. I’m putting that one away for future use 🙂

  8. What a wonderful idea! My Mother in Law had her children sit with their noses touching after a disagreement until they collapsed in giggles.

    You are such a master parent, Mary. I have to thank you for all the wisdom and insight you share. I want to be a Mom like you!

  9. This type of solution has often worked for me. There have been some weeks I have had some mighty clean kitchen and bathroom floors. I sometimes add that they have to stay in the room as each other until I say otherwise. I like the baking twist to it.

  10. great idea! i’m gonna have to remember that one when my kids get a bit older. 🙂

  11. Brilliant! You made all the difference with your inspired solution.

  12. A moment of shear brilliants! I love when that happens:-)

  13. I mentioned you today. Hope you don’t mind!!

    http://whenicomeupforair.blogspot.com/2008/03/joy.html

  14. childsafetymom says:

    What a fabulous idea!

  15. brilliant. simply brilliant mary!