I love you because …
Here are some things my children have fought about during
this last week of summer break:
- Who gets to shower first. Who gets to shower last.
- Whose turn it is to choose the television show.
- Which Pokemon card is truly most powerful.
- What would be more exciting, fire bending, water
bending or earth bending. (What does this even mean? I have tried to secure
explanations but am now more confused than ever.)
- Whether our 10-year-old yellow lab, Wilson,
looks more like he should be named “Wags” or “Wagsters.” (This debate was
particularly heated. The kids actually tried to make the case that Wilson had
chosen between the two names. Happily, Wilson just rolled over and went to
sleep, obviously as exhausted by the argument as I was.)
- Who runs faster. Who bowls better.
- Whose turn it is to get into the car first.n Whose turn it is to get into the car last.
I could go on, but you get the idea, don’t you?
The truth is, I have a tough time navigating many of these
sibling disputes – a fact probably aggravated by the fact that I am an only
child and do not have my own memories of fighting with a brother or sister.
This summer, I’ve tried to address their fighting through
one of our three themes – gratitude.
So, at least once each day, they have been encouraged to
look at each other and name at least three things they love about each other.
There are days when they are not feeling the love as much.
On these days, their “compliments” have often started out vague. One
particularly rocky evening, the loving words were, “you don’t always make me as
angry as you did today” and “sometimes you sit in the car and do not poke me at
But others days, I’ve been wowed by the ways they are able
to show each other love and gratitude. Some of my favorite compliments of the
- Hunter, who always says his a bit shyly, eyes
lowered and blushing, even after three months of practice: “Hannah, I’m
thankful for you because you always help me. You build things for me. You bring
me blankets and stuffed animals to hold when I’m sad.”
- Hannah: “Hunter, you are happy for me when
something good happens to me. You always play with me. You watch movies with me
even when you don’t pick them – and even when it’s Barbie — because you know
it makes me happy.”
- Hunter: “You are the fastest running girl I have
ever seen. And you love video games. And science. You are just a great girl – a
- Hannah: “You always listen to me about things
things that are important. When things happen, I can’t wait to tell you. A lot
of times, telling you something is my favorite part.”
Obviously, these expressions of gratitude between Hannah and
Hunter have not magically stopped their fighting.
But those loving, grateful moments do remind me – even now, as the two of them are in the adjoining room, squabbling
over whether to play Sonic Colors or Super Mario Bros. – that a foundation of
love and gratitude is a beautiful start.