You wanna step outside?By: Bonnie
A friend recently called me to check on #4, over whom she has a church stewardship. Another parent was upset and had called her. Needless to say (and I won’t) there were a lot of their issues playing into the conversation outside of the ostensibly primary concern regarding my daughter, which we decided was just a smokescreen. My friend was trying to sort out how she goes on from here.
Because this will. never. end.
Recently a situation evolved with another of my kids in Sunday School (I know, we’re like the ward “problem family” huh). A couple of months ago a new couple was called to teach the class and I began getting weekly reports from all over that #6 was having some difficulty. He’s 12. I wasn’t exactly clutching my chest in shock.
After weeks of talking to the teachers, who could not understand who was complaining and were at their wits’ end because they adore my sweet, innocent, freckle-faced redhead (no, really, that’s what they said), I finally figured out the tangled web of tales. One of the older boys in the class, who was understandably annoyed by my sweet freckle-face, was correcting him constantly because his younger brother was a friend to #6 and he felt a sort of big-brotherishness toward #6, and he liked the new teachers so he didn’t want #6 to mess everything up, so he was going to the SS president and expanding the tale a bit to ensure something got done about #6.
How do I know this? Before the recent fathers and sons campout I pulled #3 aside and told him that something was going on in SS and would he just keep an eye on #6 during the campout (I’m sure it’s never a free-for-all at those, but you know, just a precaution). Apparently, #3 decided to pull said boy aside, stand up tall (and over said boy) and ask him what the heck he was doing picking on his little bro.
(mother forehead slap)
Said boy looked like death, denied everything, then went to #6 and said, “Your brother is going to mash my face because he thinks I’m bullying you. Do you think I am?” #6 replies, “Well, it’s kind of pain how you ride me in SS.” Said boy is silent for a second and says, “Hey man, I’m sorry.” Then they go fishing.
I ask what happened at fathers and sons, and #6/#3 tell me.
So. Add in here all the appropriate disclaimers and legal language about these being specific instances and not indicative of the experience all teens (or, ahem, adults) have, no claims about gender-based character traits, yada yada yada, let’s talk about dealing with conflict in church.
Since we can’t just go fishing.
- When you have a conflict with someone in church (I know, you can just barely remember that ever happening), does it matter whether that person is male or female when you consider how to resolve it?
- Are you more inclined to talk with them to determine the problem and solution, or to not worry about it and figure that’s the burden of being a saint?
- Do you approach problem resolution differently with church members than you do in your work or other relationships?
- What do you think we should do differently in our church relationships?