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.


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