Lessons Learned

My parents had 7 children. I'm number two. That means that I've never been the boss (that's Heidi) or the baby. Unless you count the 20 months before Ellen was born. Funny, I don't remember it. Yep, jipped out of that experience. (I have issues.)

(Me, Ellen & Heidi)

It was a different time and discipline was, of course, very different as well. My mom did have moments of genius, though. One of them was her way to get us to stop fighting. Three little girls, close in age? Oh, yeah, we fought. Slapping, hair-pulling, and, if I was involved- scratching. (What? I had freakishly long nails at a very early age.)

After a bought of slapping/pulling/scratching, my mom would separate the melee. Then, she would make us face each other.

"Now," she'd say, "if you want to fight, go ahead. Hit each other."

Blank stares.

"Do it. Hit. Each. Other."

At which point the two girls involved would dissolve in tears.
"We don't want to hit each other!"

"Why not? You did just a moment ago. Now, come on. Hit."

"NO!" More sobbing.


Fast forward twenty-some years and I was a young mother myself.  My two oldest were probably 3 and 4 years old. Now, I figured that my amazing parenting skills and buckloads of patience would mean that my children would never fight. heh.  So, one day, after an unusually strong brawl, I separated my two children and made them face each other.

"You want to fight. Go ahead. Hit each other."

Let's pause one moment. You see, I forgot one thing. My mom used this tactic on me and my sisters. Girls.  I don't remember her ever using it on my three brothers, for good reason.  I forgot that boys and girls are different. And, my two oldest are, you guessed it, boys.

"Go on."

And they did. They hauled off and smacked each other. Tears and screaming ensued (some by me). I sent the boys to their room and sat in wonder at my kerfuffle. Where did I go wrong? How had my mother's example failed me so? The answer was really quite simple.

While we should learn from the past, some tactics are best left there.

Adam and Jacob on a non-fighting day.


  1. What cute girls you were. Your mom learned that tactic from Grandma Darrington. It worked well for her when your mom and Uncle Jerry used to fight(so I've been told since I wasn't born then)

    Aunt Elaine

  2. Ahahaha! Oh goodness this sounds perfect. The memories you must have... I've always said I wanted five siblings. I have one. My parents decided they were going to have four (they both come from families with four kids), but after two it was decided that for my mother's health it would be better to not have any more children. I'm thinking after they had the two of us they had their hands full anyways.

  3. I'm glad you elaborated. I was beginning to wonder how the heck that was supposed to work (says the mother of three boys)

  4. What a priceless story. Yes, little boys and little girls are VERY different...

  5. I can not stop laughing!!! I knew before you said how that story would end!! One of Aaron's mom's tactics to get her kids to confess to some wrong doing was to have them run in place until someone fessed up....yeah, Aaron is 4 years younger than the middle brother and 7 years younger than the oldest...he always confessed just so he could stop running.

  6. My Mom did the same thing for my sisters and I. I never thought how it might not have worked if there were brothers! This did flash me back to some epic fights: we weren't scratchers, we were biters.


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