Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ain't gonna study war no more...

Periodically the children ask me to type up and print out a plan they've been thinking about. The best example is Augie's business plan for a smoothie shop, which has evolved over the past year or two into a restaurant layout, full menu, and staffing assignments for the entire family.

ViMae creates in a more organic way, but she wanted a business plan like her brother's so we came up with a plan for a dress and gift shop. (How ever will I work in Augie's kitchen and make the dresses for Vi's shop? But that's a question for another day.)

So yesterday they wanted a new set of plans. Augie dictated this, including the properly used parentheses:

Augie's War Plans 
1. Hide
2. Wait
3. Spot enemy
4. Attack and defend
5. Clean up battle area
6. Do it over again (at next battle)

It seems a reasonable plan, especially if one is waging war to defend home turf and has been told to always pick up one's swords, shields, Lego siege vehicles, drumsticks, blankets, and other armaments.

Of course ViMae had to have a plan, too. And here it is, in pink as she directed:

Vi's War Plans
1. Retreat
2. Bring refreshments in case warriors get hurt

I couldn't stop myself. I love peacemakers, but I also wanted to help her understand the fairly obvious flaw in her war plan. (After all, I reasoned, a woman needs to fight for what she believes in.)

"How can you win if you don't fight the battle?" I ventured. She looked troubled.

"Do you want to add something about fighting?" "Yes," she said, but without conviction.

"Where should it go, first, second, or third?" "Third," she said decisively.

"What should it say?" She had no words.

I decided to offer a stark and silly alternative.

"Do you want to say 'Go to battle' or 'Have a party'?"

Instantly she brightened. "Have a party!" she said. So we added it:
3. Have a party.

Peter suggested that I invite her to make a Peacemaking Plan. We can talk about declaring a truce in contrast to fighting, retreating, or surrendering. We can talk about negotiation and compromise (something we talk about in an everyday-living context) or wherever the idea takes her.

I love this idea, talking about alternatives to war and about settling issues peacefully. I wish I'd thought of it myself. And I can't wait to hear what she has to say. She is clearly more of a peacemaker than a warrior at heart, and that's a wonderful thing.


Linda Myers said...

When my boys were young I refused to buy them toy weapons. So they made them out of slices of bread!

I like your discussion ideas.

stephen Hayes said...

They each wanted a new set of plans from YOU? They must think you're a miracle worker. But then to them you probably are.

Jeanie said...

I like ViMae's peacemaker heart and her plan. A party sounds better than fighting anytime to me.

DJan said...

I have often wondered if this is an inherent difference in the male and the female of the species, or if it is learned. What do you think? :-)

Far Side of Fifty said...

Girls..sometimes so rock ViMae! :)

Jeanie said...

If you ever get tired of ViMae, send her my way! My kind of girl - blessed be the peacemakers. And party planners!

Sally Wessely said...

Precious. You are blessed to have this time with them.

Grandmother Mary said...

Where did Augie get his war plan, what was his model? And why is he thinking he must come up with a war plan? What is his understanding of enemies? How is it that he needs to wrestle with this business of war? Seriously. It must start as young as he is but how? What in our culture has boys planning to go to war, thinking that war is something that must happen and that they must fight them? How are we going to turn this around so that war is not the way to resolve conflict and that those who are different or disagree with us are not enemies? I've been thinking about this a lot lately and worry about our grandsons in this culture of violence.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Augie's parents work on this a lot, too, as do we. His dad loves and has read to the children the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It features many battles over right and wrong, and dad has explained things in those terms. Augie doesn't like the violence per se but has latched on to the logistics of the battles (which may in fact also be true of everyone in the Pentagon). His parents don't allow him to pretend to shoot any person, but he does sketch and play out his "you guard this side and you guard that side" ideas. Meanwhile his sister, hearing the same stories, picks up on the relationships and the need to care for the injured. So I do think it's often a gender thing, and I hope we're doing our part by raising kids with principles and sensitivity and wisdom.

Ms Sparrow said...

If only there were more people like you who will openly discuss the issue with children.

troutbirder said...

How sweet. The best we could do was ban toy guns when ours were little. Then as teens I gave them the real thing and taught them how to hunt...

Grandmother Mary said...

I like your emphasis on talking about what the grands are reading or hearing. It's the best way to instill values and decision making ability and to stay aware of how they're thinking. I've been struggling lately in the wake of the recent gun and sexual violence incidents to say nothing of the two wars we're in (one of them our longest). It seems we need to be doing something different in raising our boys especially. I admire the approach you're taking. Both kids sound like they have such good hearts.

Pearl said...

What lovely children. :-) and what a wonderful grandma you are!


Indigo Roth said...

Hey Nancy! I'm with Pearl. And Vi's plan is priceless =) Indigo x


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