Sibling Rivalry, Restitution, and the Great Roll War
For the last seven weeks we have been living with my sister and her family. For the most part, we have had a wonderful time, as have the four kids—two from each family. However, there are ups and downs. One minute they laugh; the next we have a pile of children on the floor duking it out over a hair accessory…
Because of Rachel’s autism, which affects her manner of interacting with the world, my eldest has not experienced much in the way of sibling rivalry. Living with two cousins so close to her age has provided a crash-course in all sorts of issues, the greatest of which is that dirty word: sharing.
During lunch yesterday, three exhausted children slumped to the table, so the atmosphere was already heated when the Great Roll War broke out. It all started with the special rolls I bought to make sandwich time exciting. Everything went fine until the two girls (both eldest children) discovered there was one roll left unclaimed. My eldest, sandwich still unfinished, staked her roll claim first. My sister’s eldest—sandwich also unfinished—narrowed her eyes and declared bread rights should be equal among all girls at the table. My eldest balked. She was far hungrier, evidenced by her “more finished” sandwich. Sister’s eldest readied her counter attack.
Little man exited to escape the coming war and Rachel sat a few feet away playing with toys, which left behind an untouched sandwich roll and two girls. Cutting off the rising counterattack, my sister offered her eldest little bro’s untouched bread offering. After an inspection of said roll, it was declared unfit for human consumption, as it was defiled with a smear of mustard. Both girls readied tear cannons and pointed them at the two moms. We had a war on our hands…
I intervened with the What-Would-Jesus-Do mediation approach. I tore the roll in half and whispered to my eldest that she should trust Jesus to make her half of roll enough. He did it with a few fish to feed 5,000, so he could do it with one roll and two girls. Eldest slouched back in her seat, dissatisfied, but the war was on hold. Sister’s eldest nodded in satisfaction—she still had a lot of food left, but she wanted her roll option kept open. I told eldest to place her cousin’s half on a napkin and if it was left over at the end of lunch, she could eat it.
A few minutes later another missile boomed over the table. “You ate my roll!” Tear fire and wails followed.
Eldest, with a sneer on her face, shoved another bite of cousin’s roll into her mouth and offered a bread-muffled defense, “I was hungry and she was too slow!”
I leaned back and prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what to do about this. Will you give me some advice?”
A few seconds later, I remembered that the Bible, in the book of Leviticus, made provision for just such an event. Restitution. When accidents happened or people committed crimes, they were required to pay restitution. Interestingly enough, eldest had been doing extra chores to earn money. Ah ha! I held a quick conference with hubby. Out of the $1.50 eldest had earned this week, she would have to pay her cousin $.50 for the ill-gotten roll half.
Hubby called eldest into the office to break the news, and in the manner of justice only God can provide, my Labrador ate the rest of the roll…