We can arrive to our driveway going one of two ways: the regular way, or what my husband once called The Roller Coaster Way. Either way gets us home in equally short times, one just has a series of small up and downs while the other is quite flat and straight.
Jackson loves The Roller Coaster Way. Loves it. He excitedly asks for it whenever we near the intersection to turn onto it. Davis, on the other hand, has developed a distain for going this way. In my opinion, he has no reason to hate it other than to annoy his little brother. (Let me add, in all fairness, that this is such an unusual position for Davis to take on an issue.) As Jackson is yipping "turn! turn! turn!" Davis is yelling, "NO! We ALWAYS go that way and I HATE THAT WAY!"
What a predicament I find myself in. I can please only one in the car. If I am to ever get home, I must choose one way or another and no matter what I choose, one of my boys is completely devastated (no exaggeration, here). What is a mother to do? I suppose I could keep track and go straight one day and turn the next day. Or I could listen to the first voice I heard and go that way, or I could even use my popsicle stick method...
Instead, I have solved this dilemna with this phrase: "Davis, it is my good pleasure to do this small thing for Jackson and I delight to give him this simple thing each and every time he asks kindly."
"BUT THAT'S NOT FAIR! YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE IT!!" He says through tears.
"Yes, you have made it very clear how much you hate it. And I understand that it even is not "fair" to you. But this decision is not about you, my love. It is about Jackson. There are many times when I base desicions purely upon the fact that I delight to please you, and this is one decision that I make based purely upon my delight to please Jackson."
Of course, before I could say this to him, I had to come up with an example of this that applied to Davis. I actually had to wrack my brain a bit but came up with a perfect example: Every night (well, not EVERY night) after I read to D and J, I send Jackson off to bed. Then I pull out a chapter book that is right at Davis' level and read only to him - this is a routine I do purely because I know how it pleases Davis. In fact, it means the world to him. And even when he has been a pill and does not deserve it, and even when he really should go to bed early that night, I still do this small thing for him.
And upon explaining that to him, he settled down a bit about The Roller Coaster Way.
It reminds me of the verse that tells us how good a gift-giver our God is, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Mt 7:11). And it encourages me to seek God's wisdom in parenting rather than our own limited "wisdom." I hope you are equally encouraged.