Saturday, February 2, 2013

Friday Funnies: The Repentance Bench

Hannah (4 years old) and Abigail (2 years old) have been fighting a lot these days.  The arguments usually sound something like this...

Hannah, referring to an object that is not her own: Abby, give that to me.  It's mine!
Abby: [grabs a nearby object and proceeds to hit Hannah over the head]
Hannah: Ow!  [scream, cry, lots of tears] ABBY HIT ME!!!

I'm never really sure how to deal with this situation.  There is sinful behavior on both parts - selfishness on the part of the older sister and lack of self-control on the part of the younger.  But this week I pulled up something from the dusty recesses of my memory - The Repentance Bench.

The Repentance Bench is a place where two disagreeable parties sit side by side until both repent of their sins toward the other and extend forgiveness to each other.

The girls ended up on the Repentance Bench for the first time one afternoon because they were calling each other names - that certainly is not nice.  As a part of their consequence they had to take turns saying nice things to each other until they were "happy to be together".  The first exchange went something like this...

Mommy: Okay, Abby.  You called Hannah nasty.  That was not nice.  That hurt her feelings.  Now you must say something nice to Hannah.
Abby: [stares blankly]
Mommy: Abby, what is something nice that you notice about Hannah?
Abby: [stares blankly]
Mommy: [Thinking to myself, "I guess she needs a little help."]  Abby, is Hannah a good big sister?
Abby, very matter-of-factly: No.
Mommy: [tries to keep from bursting into laughter]

They did eventually work out their issues, hugged, and were truly reconciled for about...15 minutes.  Then they were back on the bench for some more sisterly love.
So, how do you require encourage your kids to work out their differences?

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