Thursday, April 3, 2014

What I’ve Learned from Hair-Pulling: Being Right is Not as Important as Being Right With People

Wren ran into the living room screaming that Sammy had pulled her hair out.  Her hair did have a desperate look about it, and she launched into a tale of woe and betrayal that led to her hair problem and Sammy being the cause of it.  Unbeknownst to her, Sammy sauntered in behind her with a busted lip. 

 Me:  Wren, what happened?
Wren:  I told you, Sammy pulled my hair.
Me:  Did you do anything to Sammy?
Wren:  Uh….
Me:  Think hard, he’s standing right behind you. 
Wren:  Maybe.
Me:  He’s bleeding.
Wren:  I did punch him in the mouth. 

Understand I had two sleeping infants nursing on me, a noise machine on and was pinned to the recliner.  My goal:  get to the bottom of this without waking up Asher and Eowyn.  Mission not accomplished.  The girls stayed asleep, but I still have no idea what happened between Wren and Sam.

Wren’s attempts at telling the story always involved a lot of pausing and editing.  She is a bad liar, and it definitely benefits me.  Here’s Sammy’s version:

Me:  Sam, what happened?
Sam:  I pulled Wren’s hair.
Me:  Did you pull her hair first?
Sam:  She hit me in the mouth.
Me:  Before you pulled her hair?
Sam:  We got in a fight.
Me:  What order did it happen in?
Sam:  I’m hungry.
Me:  Good grief, child, I am trying to help you!

Wren and Sam love each other desperately and fight so infrequently that Sam doesn’t really care who started it or ended it.  He generally just wants to be fed. 

Solution:  They both had to sit on the couch and not talk, though they could read or color, until the twins woke up from nap.  Any further fighting would lead to naps for them, too.  This worked beautifully. 

I’m a recovering need-to-be-right-all-the-time person, so a situation like this would have infuriated the former me.  I would have wanted to know who started the fight, why, how did it turn aggressive.  Now I know enough to feel certain there were no really innocent parties.  Sure, someone resorted to making it physical first, but that’s only part of the story.  My guess is a) Wren put more of Sammy’s prized race cars in her panties and laughed at him while he searched his room trying to find them, then he pulled her hair out or b) Sammy pulled his underwear down, put his tush right next to the back of Wren’s head, declared himself “fart man” and let one rip, therefore resulting in Wren punching him in the face.  They learned their lesson.  They didn’t fight anymore that day. 

Parenting helped me learn that most of the time I only get a portion of the story and that has taught me to look at life and assume the same thing. I’ve come to a conclusion:  being right isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, even if you are right.  Yes, I believe in absolute truth; I’m not wishy-washy about most anything and can and do offer truth in love.  But I’ve found leaving room for someone else’s voice, whether I agree with it or not, is a much better way to cultivate relationships than to launch my right answers into their face.  Knowing what I believe allows me to be open to other people’s experiences instead of constantly needing the last word.  And it allows love and truth to shine, not me and my know-it-allness.  It also hopefully lessens the amount of times I fall tragically on my face when I am completely wrong. 

I’ve learned I want the mommies around me to raise their kids however they see fit and not judge or feel judged on the hot-button issues (breastfeeding vs. formula, co-sleeping vs. crib, homeschool vs. public) as if there is only one way.  I want my Jesus without political affiliation, and I’m tired of each party raising their flag as to why they are right and therefore much more God-blessed, never where they need forgiveness or reform and repentance.  I want to not agree with people and hear them out, and maybe still not agree with them but never stop loving them or letting them know they’ve been heard.  I want others to do the same for me.

So while I may never know what led to the hair-pulling, punchfest, I know it doesn’t matter.  I don’t condone violence, and no child walked away thinking I do.  They both walked away knowing each may have been a little right and a little wrong and they learned what NOT to do if they want freedom from the couch.  And that was okay.  Everyone got a chance to tell their version of the story, to feel heard, and to recover from their emotional and physical woes while still dealing with consequences.  Feelings were considered over shaming the wrongdoer.  Everyone was valued even if they hadn’t made the best decision.  In a unique way, it all turned out just right.

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