I spend all day on Fridays with my son, a 1.5 year-old and my daughter, a 3.5 year-old.
These are days filled with fun, love, chaos, and “paternal triage.” In other words, Fridays are wonderful, but I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to managing children.
This past Friday I awoke to my son crawling on top of me whilst bludgeoning me in the face with a toy bus. I (obviously) got up quickly and ran into the kitchen for my morning-medicinal-coffee. You know the kind- thick, dark, bold.
I came back out of the kitchen to find a battlefield-styled-landscape of stuffed animals, cheerios, crumbs, and my daughter screaming, “I want Pizza!”
I ran back into the kitchen, grabbed a pair of scissors, opened the fridge, and cut my daughter a slice of cold pizza out of the leftovers from the night before.
I gave her the pizza, sat down on the couch, placed my coffee on the floor next to me, and opened my laptop to check my morning email.
A few minutes later I felt a rush of warm liquid cover my feet.
Yep. It happened. My son had spilled my “medicine” all over the living room carpet.
“Oooooh no!” I gasped as I rushed back into the kitchen to grab some paper towels.
“Daddy, what happened!!!??” My daughter was yelling from the other room. Somehow, the right words came out of my mouth in response. Not wanting to humiliate my son for being a toddler and not knowing any better, I blurted out, “Wehave a coffee spill in progress!”
Did I spill the coffee?
But I did play a part in the spill by setting up the conditions by which a coffee spill was likely, and that was on me.
I love my kids. I want them to develop into bright, capable, compassionate adults- so I try to be careful with the words I choose when I’m around them. I know that my word choices (maybe more than any other thing) will shape their view of the world.
Somewhere in the spider web of connections in my brain, this must have won out, causing me to word this moment of chaos as “we” instead of “your brother.”
There’s a passage in the New Testament in the Epistles that addresses this constant tension between “me and we.”
It says this,
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ... God has put the body together... so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
- 1 Corinthians 12
This flies in the face of everything we are programmed to believe as humans.
my, me, mine
THE STATE OF THE WORLD
What would the world start to look like if we began to wrap our minds around the idea that we’re all in this together?
When something tragic happens in the world and we want to place the blame on an individual, how would it change our response if we thought to ourselves, “We are all complicit in this. We all played a part in this by setting up the conditions by which this was likely, and that is on all of us.”
“We played a part in this with our votes.”
“We played a part in this with our investments.”
“We played a part in this with our purchases.”
“We played a part in this with the secret opinions we have about others.”
The state of world, believe it or not, is not in the hands of a select few. The world is ours. It’s fate is in our hands.
We. We. We.
Edmund Burke once said,
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
So what are we doing?