imageSometimes my children argue and have issues getting along.

Big surprise, I know.

The oldest two are the worst, possibly because they are girls and are in constant competition with one another. Lily is easily thrown off by her sister’s noise level and need for trying to keep up in some fashion. Henley loses her cool when she feels bossed around by her older sibling. They both team up, however, whenever little brother goes messing through their Lego Friends – destroying their masterpieces.

But it’s really not that unusual, is it? Life is like that. Probably more than we’d like to admit. Although we are called to love, we might not always like each other very much. This is exhibited in my children when they struggle to share space, toys, time with Mom or Dad, etc…

I have to say that, when this kind of problem pops up, we take to shooing their little backsides to the great outdoors. There’s just something about a penchant for adventure that brings these three together like peanut butter and jelly. Creative, collaborative play becomes even more enjoyable to them when grass and dirt are involved. And as much as I want to hold onto every last drop of Willow’s baby years, there’s a part of me that can’t wait for her to join the fun!

While we don’t own a chunk of land for them to explore on we do have a sizable three acre lot overlooking a beautiful lake. The owners of the lake graciously allow our family to hike or fish, which the kids love. And although Jefferson City isn’t a big town, it has a lot of history and wonderful opportunities for getting the kids outside. image Often times we will take them to a few of these destinations that allow them to play freely. Spots such as the area around the capital, the governor’s mansion and gardens or the Lewis and Clark Monument. It’s a great place for them to burn off some energy, take in some history and (secretly) allows me to achieve more success at photo opportunities…when I remember my good camera.

Differences or no differences, when they share a common goal in this kind of play they embrace each other unlike they did before. They smile and laugh together and it reminds me that, even though they might not always see eye to eye, they are learning how to partner. When Paul addresses the Philippians in the first chapter of his letter he uses the word “partnership” in reference to the gospel. This partnership he speaks of is a relationship that becomes established between people who are sharing the same goal. They pray for one another. Encourage one another. Offer a hand in any way they can. In this partnership, we strive together as one to make sure that the other is fully able to continue spreading the Good News.

While my children might not be working together to spread that news just yet they’re learning to work together in common, everyday fashion. Lily offers a hand to her sister. Henley boosts Wyatt up onto a tree branch when he’s too short to grab it. If one of them falls, the other slows down and helps the other up before they continue on. Their mission is to make sure that no one falls behind.

Making sure that no one is left behind… What an amazing quality to establish as a child.

Because isn’t that what it’s all about?

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)