Sandbox Diplomacy

Sandbox Diplomacy

 

Even children at play demonstrate who they really are,

by whether their conduct is honest and just.

Proverbs 20:11, The Inclusive Bible

Rachel was an attentive, nearly three-year old when her father read to her a Beatrix Potter classic, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” Peter’s mother had given explicit instructions to young Peter that included a dire warning. “Stay out of Mr. McGregor’s garden!” Due to an “accident” in said garden, Daddy Rabbit was made into a pie.

Undeterred by his mother’s mandate, Peter squeezed under the garden’s gate. After dining on the garden’s bounty, he was seen and chased by Mr. McGregor. Peter ran into the tool shed and jumped into a full watering can. Finally escaping the fatigued McGregor and another close encounter he made it home, his new jacket left snagged in a gooseberry bush.

That evening his mother, without a word about her suspicions, made a sickly Peter some Chamomile tea.

Days after reading the story, Rachel and her father were at the park. Rachel chose the sandbox. Soon a car pulled up and nearly tumbling out of the car came boys of four or five years. Toy guns blazing. They found their target and lay siege to the sandbox. From the mouth of a five-year-old came the murderous threat, “I’m gonna blow your guts out.”

Rachel poured sand into a cup and held it out. “Would you like some chamomile tea?”

The assault was called to a halt.

 

Congenial conversation - what a pleasure!

The right word at the right time - beautiful!

Proverbs 15:23, The Message by Eugene Peterson

 

Parents need to think carefully about the bedtime stories they read to their children. Sometimes they make an impression, like how to conduct tea diplomacy in a sandbox.

 

This is my retelling of a story by parent, Gary Hauk, “Night Thoughts About My Daughter’s Moral Indignation,” Ministry & Mission (Candler School of Theology), c.1987, 4. Rachel is a pseudonym.

 

About Louise Stowe-Johns

I'm a writer,
a mediator,
a pastor,
an educator,
a lover of the arts,
a wife,
a mother,
and on occasion,
a pot stirrer.

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