The Gift of Conflict

It’s eleven days before Christmas and I haven’t purchased a single gift. I suppose you could say I am a little behind on my preparation. I’m just taking a different approach this year–being present for each moment and avoiding the hustle and bustle. I’m sure Amazon Prime will be thrilled, because I’m about to go on a late night spree. As parents, we want to give our kids the greatest gifts. In our home, we call it the “shock and awe” present. What will make their jaws drop and eyes burst? What will elicit the high pitch scream and leaps for joy? We never want to give the gift that brings pain, sadness, disappointment or challenge. What good would that be? Right?

This week, my daughter wrote a beautiful piece I had to share. She watched the Wizard of Oz in her Language Arts class at school. Each student was asked to share the many different thoughts and feelings they had about the characters and the lives the movie portrayed. Tatum shared two things that stood out to her. The first one warmed my heart. The second can change your life. Sometimes the greatest gifts don’t come in a sparkly box with a big red bow. So in the spirit of giving, receive this gift from the heart of my eleven year old girl.

“When I look at the painting of Oz, one thing that stands out to me is Dorothy’s home. To me, home is a safe place, where no one can judge you. Where you can relax and hang out. Home is a happy place where you can have fun and be with one another. Home is where you can be you. My home is very open and my family is very close. We will be with each other and always on each other’s side. My family is also very fun and crazy. We play games together and watch movies together. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s meaning of home is a lot different from mine. Nobody understands her. Her family is not very close, and she doesn’t really have any friends (besides the farmers). All she really has is her dog. Also, Dorothy’s Aunt and Uncle don’t pay attention to her and that’s why she dreams of going to a magical place, where everyone understands her and it’s perfect.Another thing that stands out to me is the tornado. The tornado is a symbol of conflict, but it also ends up taking Dorothy to her magical place. Everyone faces conflict at some point in their life. We wouldn’t be the people we are if we didn’t have conflict.

When we face something hard it ends up making us better people.

We either learn from our mistakes, or learn how to deal with it. Conflict also helps our personality and attitude to be better. I can relate to what I just said because this summer I broke my arm for the first time. It was very hard, because in three days my entire family was going to Kauai, and for most of us it was our first time. I ended up having an amazing time, but when I got back, I found out  I had to have surgery in two days. They put two metal rods in my arm and it healed great. They told me to wear a brace for three weeks and then go back to normal activities. So I did. Five weeks later, I went to a birthday party and broke my arm again. I fractured one of my bones and bent the metal rod in my arm. I was so disappointed, frustrated, and confused, but my bone healed straight and after a month, I got my cast off. I learned a lot through both of those experiences. I learned how to deal with disappointment, to be brave, and that I can do hard things.”

As I read her words, I though back to the moments I purposefully guided her through the challenge of a double break. We have incredible opportunity to shape the hearts of our children for good. As parents, we can give the gift of intentionality to our children and help steer our Tribes through trouble. It’s never easy, always messy but so worth it. This is what my new devotional series is all about. I hope you will join me as we all desire to build our TRIBE around what matters most.