Our 13 year old son was reading his assigned short story in literature. The story revolved around two brothers who were in conflict with each other which resulted in each of the brothers deeply hurting their relationship. Through the story, the brothers discover that their actions were rooted in pride and envy. Our son dutifully answered the questions as I had assigned them. Nice, complete sentences and neat for a boy who has struggles with penmanship. He placed his paper in my correction box without further thought. The busy home school day went on. Later, okay a couple days later, I tackled the mound of papers to correct. Amid the papers, I read his literary response to the story about the brothers. One of the questions read, “Did the brothers have any unresolved conflict at the end of the story?” He wrote, “No, the brothers did not have unresolved conflict because grace and forgiveness were present.” Right there in the middle of my home schooling tasks, a realization of the profound truth of what our son had written melted my heart.
When grace and forgiveness are allowed and encouraged to reign in a home,conflict can be resolved and the fruit of peace will grow.
Conflict happens, especially in a home school setting. Think about it. By staying home and becoming the educator of our children we have increased the probability of conflict by…Oh no! I really don’t want to do the math on this one. Now add to that statistic that the educator (you and I) are sinful and self centered by nature and the fact that our offspring is in the same condition. How can conflict not emerge through the day?
The question and the prayer is how do I as the home educator encourage a place of grace and forgiveness?
Paul says in Romans 5: 20, “…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
As I read this verse, I can picture my Savior, ever present in my home, standing, watching the latest conflict between me my children grow. His loving arms are outstretched. He whispers, “I have grace for you and your children.” I pay no attention, after all, I feel I can handle this myself. As the conflict continues to grow, he offers again, “I have even more grace for your family Beth”. No matter how deep I go in my sin, He is there. Of course, He warns us in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” but sadly at times I do plunge into a tangled up web of conflict during a school day. I am so thankful for his persistent grace.
So, in the midst of my home school conflict that is occurring at 10:23 a.m., as we start our math lesson, there is a bucket load of grace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that is available to us. So when little Johnny sasses off at Mom or little Susie sullenly saunters in late to her mother’s call and Mom yells back at both of them with a touch of sarcasm while she is on the phone, (Gee, I wonder how I wrote such a descriptive sentence, oh that’s right! I lived that example.) How can she access that gift of grace and forgiveness?
We can access God’s gift of grace and forgiveness by first of all making the resolution of conflict our top priority.
There is no greater lesson for our children and us to learn than to humbly admit sin, receive grace and forgiveness, give grace and forgiveness and live in peace with our family. This lesson must come before math or English or any other subject.
In 2 Corinthians 5: 18, Paul states,“…and (He, Jesus) gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
As a believer, this is a very important responsibility that God has given us. As a home educator, this is an extremely important responsibility that God has given us. Unresolved conflict can undue all the wonderful ideals of why we chose home schooling in the first place.
Questions to ask God in Prayer-(Take the “log” out of your own eye)
Am I the problem here? Am I being unreasonable? Am I being selfish? Am I being insensitive?Am I aggravating the situation? Am I yielding to sin?
Pray for understanding of your child’s heart. See the situation from their eyes.Read and study God’s word, it will bring light to your conflict.Open your heart to learn about your own growth areas.
Have a positive conversation-(Be quick to hear, slow to speak)
Listen to both sides! Rarely is the conflict a one sided wrong. A child sense of fairness is not always found in equality be if they are equally being valued and heard.
Refrain from cheap shots. Cheap shots are the cop out to conflict resolution.Cheap shots include: sarcasm, rudeness, insults, using the terms “you always” “you never”
Demonstrate your Love-(Rock solid love is the foundation to a child’s positive growth.)
Before you jump into the problem, communicate your unconditional love to your child
Take what is your part of the problem; acknowledge specifically how you contributed to the tension.
Be solution centered
Be thankful for God’s word about the situation.
Enlist your child’s help in solving the conflict. Conflict is an opportunity to teach a like skill that will serve them and their future families far more than multiplying fractions! Freely offer forgiveness to one another.
Give God the Glory for his Grace!
It takes extra time to do conflict in a way that honors God but when I take this time to solve conflict in a God-honoring way, a peace that surpasses understanding fills my home. As your family enjoys the peace of His presence, thank God together and report the successes to Dad when he arrives home so that he can affirm the growth that has occurred.
Like the brothers in our son’s story, let us give our top priority to this ministry of not allowing unresolved conflict to be ignored or mismanaged but to allow God’s grace and forgiveness to reign in our home.
From Our House to Yours,
New title given to me by Jesus-Minister of Reconciliation.