Sunday, June 30, 2013

Relational Bank Accounts

Confession Time, pull up a chair. Two things that really upset me as a parent: the first is when one of my children tell me all kinds of horrible things that someone else has done to them and it is all the other child's fault.  Given the info the only way to respond is to be upset with the other child.  You confront the other child only to be blindsided by the fact that there is a major part of the story that has been left out.  Namely the part the original child did to start the whole incident. Just really irks me when I feel lied to

The second thing that I hate is when you tell your children to do something and the moment you step out of the room, they totally stop doing what you have instructed and begin doing something totally off task, (like playing the Wii).  You step back into the room later and they quickly jump to working on what it was you wanted like they have been slaving away the whole time. 1

Well both happened today while Alicia and I were going to get our immunizations to travel to Uganda.  After several phone calls to help resolve arguments and fights, I was good and irritated by the time we got back home.  I was determined to make sure this never happened again.  I really wanted to make them pay.  That thought about paying popped into my head.  I thought I've got to think of a way to not ring their necks, and connect the consequences to the offense with creativity.  A thought I think was inspired by Kevin Lehman's "Have a new kid by Friday" book.

I decided to do something that would shut all the bickering up quickly and create a high pucker factor.  I said, "Go get all of your money and bring it in here."  All of our kids have more money than I do, so I knew they would all have a full piggy bank.  While they were getting the money, I decide to bring home the point that they are emptying their relational bank accounts by making them pay one another for each they they did wrong to each other.  1 dollar for disrespect and 2 dollars for hitting/inflicting pain.

When we began they all were put out with one another and everything was an argument.  They told me every event that happened and I made them pay.  Some incredible lessons came out of it.  They all felt they had been wronged worse, but when the final money was paid it was almost equal.  It is really interesting how skewed our perspective of our offenses really is.  Everyone's is worse than our own, yet we tend to even things out much more than we really think.  We really do see the speck in other's, but fail to see the plank in our own.  Funny I was wrestling with this passage in my studies right after this.  You can listen to the sermon here

Once money got involved they were much more motivated to treat each other with respect, but we should value the relationships that are eternal more than pieces of paper.  We really do struggle with our love of money over relationships from an early age.  The fact my kids had to learn this from me was pretty convicting.

The power of accounts to level out, for good or bad.  It really was funny watching the handing over of cash for every wrong action cause real frustration with the one having to pay.  It seemed so unfair.  But before long it was coming right back to them.  It was almost perfectly balanced with A LOT of dollars being passed back and forth.  I had no idea it would end up this way.

After doing this exercise everything seemed to be resolved between each other.  They didn't realize how much they had done until they had to pay for each thing.  Seeing their own offenses humbled them and made the hurtfulness of others diminish.  They didn't even seem upset any more at all with all the things that had them so upset just minutes before.

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