My son, for whatever reason, cannot stand when his sister does something wrong.Or something that’s not even actually wrong but that just bothers him.A lot of his sentences start like this, “Mom, Sara just…”
I’ve been working on this with him. Usually, my response is something like, “Baby, how does this affect your life in any way?” Because, truthfully, it’s not like he’s telling on her for hitting him in the head with a baseball bat or something. It’s things like her accidentally leaving the bathroom light on. Or choosing to buy her own lunch. Really. Totally non-Jack-related things.
Last year, this conversation took place before school. Setting: I was in the kitchen, Sara was by the front door, Jack was in his bedroom. I yelled to Sara, “Are you bringing your lunch or buying your lunch?” Sara, “Buying.” Jack, “Waste of money, Sara.” Sara, “Live and let live, Jack.”
I love it. Live and let live.No, this isn’t a knock-off of the Paul McCartney and Wing’s song or the James Bond flick, “Live and Let Die”, though sometimes I’m sure that phrase could fit into our family situations just as nicely.
Nope, it’s a quote I’ve picked up over the past year that has revolutionized my life to such an extent, I wanted to get it into my children’s heads and hearts.
Basically, it means, focus on your own life…not in a self-centered way, but in a ‘my hands are full enough just trying to live a God-glorifying life…so full I can’t be bothered being all judgy and critical of anyone else’ way.
And let live.Well, that just means to let others live their own lives.Stop controlling.Stop butting in. Stop judging.Stop criticizing.Stop giving your two cents unless asked, and even then, think twice.You can still pray for, but stop being the Holy Spirit, or the mother (unless, of course, you are the mother).
Just plain you go live your life and I’ll go live my life and things will be much more peaceful. (I’m telling you, it works.)
Sara has taken to this much more quickly than Jack. She seems to have no problem letting others live their own lives. She is not one to tattle. She just takes care of her own stuff.
Jack, on the other hand, almost can’t help himself. He’s the self-appointed cop of his sister, with an invisible notepad in hand jotting down all her missteps. Poor things. (Him and Sara.) That’s no way to live.
One night, he was so upset over three things that Sara had done that bugged him. He wasn’t upset about anything in his own life, just stuff Sara had done. So, I gave him my little pep talk and I prayed for him, asking Jesus to help Jack, just for that one night, to let go of at least one of those things. I don’t know if it worked.
But yesterday, we had a breakthrough.Sara was in her bedroom working on homework, radio on.Jack was in the dining room also doing homework.I went to Sara’s door and asked her to turn it down, even suggesting that she might be able to concentrate better with it off (she, shockingly, disagreed), but I didn’t press it because it had been a suggestion.She turned it down though and I walked back out.
Apparently, she didn’t do something to Jack’s liking, because he said, “Mom, Sara…” Then he stopped himself.He sighed.
“What, hon?” I asked.
“Sara…”, he said.Another sigh.“Never mind,” he said, “I’m just going to live and let live on this one.”
I walked over, told him I was proud of him, and kissed him on the head.I’ll take that as progress.