by Randall Allen Dunn
One day, while Abby was playing with a friend, both of the girls started screaming at each other over a toy. They were grabbing at it, each trying to pull it from the other one’s hands. Nicki calmed them down and talked with them about how to resolve things without getting into a big fight.
I came into the room a little later and asked the girls if they were all right, because I heard that they had gotten blown up.
Abby and her friend giggled and gave me confused looks. “We didn’t get blown up!” they said.
“It sounded like you did. It sounded like you got blown up by an argument bomb.”
They started cracking up, wondering what nonsense I was talking about now.
“Yeah,” they acknowledged.
“Well, did you both start getting mad and yelling at each other when you were trying to get it?”
“Well, we were kind of yelling,” they admitted.
“That’s an argument bomb. As soon as you both started grabbing at it, it blew up and made you both have a big argument. Next time you touch something and it makes you both get really mad, you should let go of that thing right away before it makes you blow up.”
The girls were still laughing, thinking I was crazy. But Nicki loved this concept. She told the girls, “Haven’t you ever heard someone say that they ‘blew up’ at someone because they got so mad? That’s what happens when you start fighting over something.”
Nicki and I love the hilarious British children’s cartoon, “Charlie and Lola”, about seven-year old Charlie (Daniel Mayers), who often has to help his flighty four-year old sister, Lola (Clementine Cowell), understand the way things really work. Thankfully, Charlie is very longsuffering, and Lola is fairly easygoing.
However, in one episode, called, “Yes I Am, No You’re Not”, they’re having a lot of trouble getting along. They keep getting into arguments over little things, to the point that their mother threatens them. If they can’t stop their squabbling, she’ll cancel their plans to take them to the Chinese puppet show. Charlie and Lola work hard to play together without getting into a fight, but it doesn’t work. They’re soon arguing and screaming at each other, demanding their way.
So their mother puts them both in the “Simmer-Down Chair”. Contemplating their fate, Charlie and Lola decide that they need a plan to keep themselves from squabbling. They can’t agree on what television show to watch, so they decide to do something quiet … separately.
Sitting together at a table, they begin coloring pictures. But within a few minutes, their plan falls apart as they start fighting over the crayons they each need.
Back in the Simmer-Down Chairs again, Charlie suggests a new plan. Instead of saying “No” to one another, they should find ways to say “Yes”. Then they’ll be agreeing on things instead of arguing. Lola loves this idea, and giggles as she says “Yes” to the plan.
When they return to playing, they happily respond “Yes” to questions from one another, and find they’re enjoying their time together again. By focusing on working together, they find it easier to avoid getting upset with one another.
Getting along with someone takes work, especially when it’s someone close to you. It’s too easy to fall into a trap of getting on each other’s nerves and venting all of your frustration.
Some years ago, a church friend noted that when we feel slighted, it’s usually over a “slight” matter. We focus on what offends us, even when it’s relatively insignificant. By insisting on defending ourselves and our opinions, we end up hurting our relationships and building up our own frustration.
Learn to let things go this week. And try not to blow up.
Find more reviews of “Charlie and Lola Volume 4” at amazon.com!
Saturday, April 30th, 2011