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Instruction Manual for Kids: Choosing Your Battles (part 1)

** post by guest blogger Rusty Rea

When we see a couple exchange vows, entering a life -long commitment to one another, surrounded by friends and family, all of the pomp and circumstance, we typically use the eloquent phrases of ‘match made in heaven’ and ‘the two become one’…. While those are often appropriate, another much overlooked reality is ‘two worlds ruled by independence colliding under one roof’…  Anyone who has been married longer than the two-week honeymoon knows exactly what I’m talking about.

As children enter the picture we again see a similar scenario.  We visit the hospital, bring meals, dote on baby and the new parents, decide who baby looks more like, and wish all of the best to the family.  The parent/child relationship is sacred ground, and is honored throughout cultures all over the world.  This beautiful relationship is also the battle ground of WILLS colliding.  Independence vs. Dependence, Rebellion vs. Obedience, Individuality vs. Family dynamics, Ignorance vs. Knowledge, Misunderstandings vs. Clarity, etc…. Again, if you have ever been a child or had the privilege of being a parent, you know this place well…

The imagery of a battle ground is perfect.  A battle ground is where parties converge to resolve an issue… it is where there can be winners, treaties, resolutions, surrender of territories, loss of rights, and unfortunately casualties.  These are all things we experience in any relationship.

In the coming weeks I will expound more on ‘Rules of Engagement’ and how to fight; but before we even get that far we need to decide within ourselves, our marriages, our relationships to our child’s other parent how we determine what battles are worth fighting, and how we determine what battles are worth losing

One of my all time favorite movie quotes comes from ‘Air Force One‘-  in the film Harrison Ford (playing the President of the United States) says, ‘Peace is not the absent of conflict, it is the presence of justice.‘  This principle is applicable to  many areas of our lives.  Often times we assume the evidence of a healthy relationship is an absence of conflict. 

On the contrary, the evidence of a healthy relationship is mutual respect, kindness despite disagreements, and the freedom to disagree without  fear of retribution.  AT ALL COSTS we must avoid the mentality that says “keep the peace for the sake of avoiding conflict’.  Rather, we must intentionally and respectfully address the issues that drive a wedge between us.

Over the past several months we have discussed the notions of training your children, allowing them to have a voice, nurturing their nature, and how sometimes we can be monsters.  While those topics have addressed the character of individuals, we are now going to focus on the actual relationships we have.

For now, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss anything!  In the coming weeks we will start to address the concepts of:

  1. Fighting for each other

  2. There are battles you cannot lose

  3. There are battles you should no longer have to fight

  4. The difference between ‘losing a battle’ and nurturing your child’s decision making and voice.

  5. Losing the battle for the sake of ‘peace’

  6. I’m the parent- do so because I said so

Parenting is both the hardest ‘easy’ thing, and easiest ‘hard’ thing to do… it really is the battle ground of WILLS colliding.  As imperfect parents we strive to perfectly parent imperfect children — What a task and lofty goal!!!  Again, as I continually mention, ‘you are the instruction manual you wish your child came with’… as the parent you set the tone for everything.  This is frightening and empowering!  As you recognize your role and take your authority you really can instruct your child skillfully….. imagine that!?!  By following principles someone who has little or no experience being a parent can appropriately parent someone who has no prior experience being a kid!  Don’t you just love my logic!

So hunker down and get ready as we transition into focusing on our relationship with our children!  Have a great weekend, see you next Friday!


This post is linked to Welcome Home Link Ups at Raising Arrows, Mentoring Mamas Monday at Simply Living for Him, Seasonal Celebrations at Natural Mother’s Network, Sunday School Blog Hop at Butter Believer,  WLWW Link-up at Women Living Well

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