Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Lesson in Teamwork

Every now and again brothers bicker.

They tattle tale - the other brother's failure to follow through with responsibilities causes him to not be able to tend to his own.  They complain. "I can't vacuum because he hasn't cleaned his room!"  "I can't do my schoolwork!  He hasn't cleaned the dining room!"

Then, they figure the next best thing to do is wrestle.  Like puppies, this wrestling does not seem to be mean spirited.  They don't try to hurt one another.  They just roll all over the ground trying to out-muscle the other.
They grunt... and giggle.

Like most things, there is a time and a place.  The living room during morning chores is neither the time nor place!

This one particular day, I came across this soft velcro belt one boy left on the floor.  Hmm...

I called them to me, and gently tied them to each other.  At first their pride was hurt.  They were ashamed and bothered by how the other boy would bog them down.

They thought they'd now each be in more trouble for not completing their tasks.
I reminded them that they weren't accomplishing much on their own, so perhaps they would accomplish more together.
Their only instruction was that they would be more successful if they communicated clearly with one another and worked as a team, rather than each pulling the opposite direction serving only themselves.

For an hour, they made their beds together, having to communicate about every little motion.

They had to brush their teeth together, one squeezing the toothpaste while the other held the brush.  They had to figure out how to synchronize their movements to sweep the kitchen floor.  They even had to eat breakfast together, asking the other for help when the other hand was needed.

An experiment that began with tears, ended with more giggles than you could imagine.
The bickering was forgotten.
The competitions had ended.
The selfishness tossed by the wayside.
They had been reminded in a short hour of forced togetherness how to communicate with one another in a practical way.  How to share, to be helpful, and to be patient.  They were forced to treat the other as they wished to be treated.
"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them..."  Matthew 7:12

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