“It’s yours, Robert!”
“No, Anton, it’s not. It’s yours!”
“Okay, Robert, now you’re going to get it!”
Sighing, I mounted the stairs. Yanking my boys’ bedroom door open, I bolted in the room. With my hands on my hips, I asked, “Okay, boys, what’s going on?”
My eleven-year-old son, Anton, stood with a crumpled shirt in his right hand. “Robert wore this last time. So, he should hang it up!”
Robert, my nine-year-old son, plopped down on a stack of clean clothes. “No, Mom, he says that shirt is mine, but it’s not.”
“Boys, it takes you longer to argue over the shirt than it would to hang it up. Why don’t you bless each other sometime, and just help one another?”
Anton threw the shirt, hitting Robert in the face. Grabbing his face, Robert let out a heart-wrenching sob.
“Okay Anton, for that, you can hang it up now! And you can now take care of all Robert’s clothes.”
Anton hung his head as Robert wiped his eyes with a smirk.
“I don’t get it. Why can’t you guys ever get along? If you’re not fighting over clothes, its chores, friends, school stuff, on and on. I’d like to see just one day when you guys can accomplish a task without tempers flying.” Pointing my finger, I continued, “Now, Anton, you’re not coming out of this room until all these clothes are properly put away.”
Darting back downstairs, I dashed into the kitchen, hoping to pull something together for dinner as my mind whirled. Why can’t my boys ever get along? What am I doing wrong? Before adopting my five children, I had envisioned a close-knit family. Although I knew kids have conflicts, I never imagined an on going battle. “Lord, please help me to teach my children to care about each other.”
After dinner we raced out the door for Delaney, my seven-year-old daughter’s figure skating lesson. After arriving at the rink, I tied her skates. “Okay, Delaney, have a great lesson!”
Delaney looked at her skates.
“Delaney, what’s the matter?”
She shrugged. Standing up, she hobbled away from the concession area toward the open door leading to the ice.
“Mom! Mom!” Delaney’s familiar voice called.
“Anton, Robert, you stay right here. Delaney must need her skates retied."
I walked off. After helping Delaney, I strolled back into the concession area, hoping to find my boys where I had left them. But as I drew closer, Robert and Anton were both standing up, with six boys seated across from them. Robert stood with his arm around Anton’s shoulder. “You leave my brother alone!”
A much younger boy ran over to Robert with clenched fists. He spewed something, I couldn’t hear, as he threw a punch at Robert, just missing. The group of older boys laughed. “Hey, Buddy, go get him!” Another yelled, “Do it again!”
Are my boys picking fights with other boys now? My heart raced as I jogged over. “Robert, Anton!” Grabbing their jackets, I pulled them away. “What’s going on? Are you fighting with those boys?”
Robert stuck his lip out. “Mom, they were being really mean to Anton, teasing him and stuff.”
“That’s no excuse. I don’t want you boys fighting!”
A lady walked over. “Humm…I don’t mean to interrupt, but I saw the whole thing.”
My palms sweated. “Oh, what happened?”
“The younger boy was getting quite physical with your son,” she announced, pointing at Anton, "while the older boys egged him on. Your other son here,” she pointed at Robert, “was only trying to protect him.” She stopped, smiling. “I-I really don’t think they should get into any trouble.”
“Thank you for sharing that with me.”
Later that evening I thought about what happened. My boys, who couldn’t seem to get along long enough to look at each other, had stuck together. Somehow, someway, they were getting the values I had been so desperately trying to instill. And the Lord had showed me this one was worth fighting for.