"No, I'm telling Mommy!"
A stampede through the house and two children arrive breathless and red-faced, each convinced of their own innocence and desperate to tell their story first.
"He's just trying to get me in trouble!" Jewel accuses.
"She pushed me and I fell on my arm and it hurt! Look!" James holds up the incriminating evidence against Jewel, a scraped arm.
Yep, it's summertime. And the children are learning how to live in peace. It's not easy for them...or for me.
"Yes, but he's annoying me on purpose!" Jewel says.
I have begun to establish protocol for mitigation, otherwise it's a tattling free-for-all. The Court of Mom is orderly. There is a way to bring a case to the judge. Any unruly behavior warrants being in contempt of court.
Rules of Mom's Court:
1. We do not yell. Yelling does not make us more right. It earns us an immediate time-out.
2. We do not exaggerate. Exaggeration does not bolster our case, it actually puts us in danger of perjury.
3. We do not claim to be mind-readers. Despite our severe conviction, the only one who can read motives is God.
4. We do not whine about the verdict.
5. We forgive. We hug, we apologize and if necessary, we make amends.
"Do we have to kiss?" Jewel asks, "because James always tries to lick me and it's disgusting!"
"She never wants to kiss me!" James laments.
"I think a hug will suffice," I say.
They hug and James tries to lift Jewel off the ground. She shrieks in laughter. And then they are gone, happily racing outside to finish building their tent-fort.
Because when children forgive, they also forget. The forgetting part is just as important, don't you think?
At least, it is for me.
p.s. the picture of the fallen tree doesn't have anything to do with peace, per se. It's just a photo I took in Yosemite. And I like it. :0)