Below is a story we just received from a friend; he is an American who lives in another country and just completed our Conflict Coaching training. He is excited to see opportunities that God is giving him to practice what he learned. We hope that his story will encourage you (names have been changed):
I have another example of peacemaking in action for you:
I don’t know if we told you about the young man who is living with us. He’s from a local American run orphanage and needs a place to stay while he finishes his high school. He’s a junior like our middle son. He’s been with us for about 6 months now. Last Sunday evening, he and Beth got into a confrontation about his lack of involvement in household activities. He was happy doing only the minimum as I had put on a “chore chart” for him and our two sons. It went bad when Beth who was working to make dinner told him to set the table, and he responded that he wasn’t on the chore chart for Sunday evening. Beth interpreted his resistance as ungratefulness and challenged him. He responded that he did what was expected and that was enough. By the time I entered, it had reached a point of no return as neither was trying to understand the other. I tried to mediate, but in the end, the young man, Josh, left the kitchen and went to his room and Beth, rightly feeling I had been slow in getting involved, stormed out of the house to cool down. No one felt like eating.
I told the boys that we would have a family meeting to sort out the confusion when Beth returned. When she hadn’t returned an hour later, the boys and I went out looking for her and Josh went to bed. Our youngest son found Beth, and they went to a co-workers home to talk and have some hot chocolate. They returned a couple of hours later. She was doing better but still feeling very hurt. She said she didn’t have the emotional energy to deal with Josh’s rebellious attitude and I would have to find another place for him to stay while I traveled in the next week. We tried to talk through some issues, but she was too tired. Needless to say, we all went to bed feeling very frazzled.
I woke in the night praying for God to show me how to lead us through this confrontation. As I prayed, I thought of the 4 principles of peacemaking and began to understand what I needed to do to be a peacemaker in this situation. In the morning, I got up earlier to make tea for Beth as I felt she needed to sleep in. I told the boys I was sad that we had had the confrontation, but I was glad that God was giving us the opportunity to see Him work in each of our lives through this. I assured each of them, especially Josh, that they were not the problem. I owned my part of the conflict and told them God wanted to do something in my life as well. As I dropped them at school, I told them we would meet as a family after school to work through this.
I decided to work from home so Beth and I could have time to make peace with each other. I realized the first thing I needed to do was ask for her forgiveness for my slowness in getting involved the night before, which I did. This opened the way for us to express other things we were dealing with that made the conflict even worse. We began to try to see the conflict through Josh’s eyes. Being relatively new to our home, I realized he needed further instruction in the expectations we have of each other, so I decided to put together a list of all the things that needed to be done to run a household. I told Beth I believed God wanted to use this conflict in Josh’s life to show him the Biblical way to work through these situations since what he learned from the orphanage was anything but Biblical. I also wanted all of us to understand how much Beth does that we don’t see so we could express our gratitude to her by working with her to help run the home. I also put together a new and improved chore chart.
When the boys arrived from school, we went over the list of 20 or so household responsibilities and talked about who was primarily responsible for each. After they heard Beth’s name several times, our youngest said, “I’m beginning to see a pattern here.” Then we went over the chore chart which I designed so they would be working together more in doing the chores. The change in Josh was almost immediate. He has been very cooperative and even worked with our middle son on a chore without being asked. What a blessing to live in a home at peace again! Even though I leave this evening for almost three weeks, Beth is now very content to have him remain in our home.
Thank you again for allowing God to use you in our lives to show us how to seek His peace in our home. Please feel free to share this story with others who might benefit from our experiences.