Remember the days when we didn’t have cell phones? The good ‘ole days we like to call them. In those days we had to use a real map to get us from place to place, which would probably be more effective than the new iPhone maps. In those days we didn’t have people rear-ending other’s cars because they “just had to Facebook Like this picture of a puppy licking a popsicle!” In those days we weren’t able to ignore that phone call from our boss that was asking us why we called in sick, because we couldn’t actually see who was calling. And in those days if we had an issue with someone, we actually talked to them about it, instead of posting a nasty thing about them on their Facebook wall.
Somewhere along the way we have lost our ability to have conflict. If there is one thing that this election has shown me, it’s that we, as a country, have no idea what it means to disagree with someone and retain our dignity. We almost immediately resort to name-calling and mud slinging faster than a political ad on the last weekend of October.
There is one major problem with all of this though; conflict is inevitable. In all areas of our life we are destined to have conflict. In your job, there is conflict; in your church, there is conflict; in your families, there is conflict. Guess what? That’s okay! Conflict is inevitable, and healthy conflict is important for all of our life-relationships.
Over the course of this entire election cycle, I saw the most hateful and vitriolic nonsense from other “Christians” on Facebook, and my heart broke for a younger generation that is learning how to have conflict in all the wrong ways. We must begin training our kids what it means to have conflict in a manner that is God-honoring.
It is our responsibility as adults and mentors to model good conflict for our kids. There is one issue with this however, we don’t fight well. Adults tend to resort to the same immature things that our kids do. When we get in an argument with our spouse, we name call, bring up old issues, or have an entire fight through text message. For us to truly be Radical Parents, we have to be radical in our own personal lives. We must begin to fight well.
The biggest hindrance to healthy conflict right now is pseudo-conflict through text messaging and social media. A non-face-to-face argument throws gasoline on the flames of conflict and turns it into a wildfire. People tend to act really tough when they don’t have to face the notion that their comment may get them punched. We feel confident telling someone that they “are an idiot,” or that their, “opinion doesn’t matter,” when we get to do it from the safe confines of our office. We must learn that our conflicts have to happen face-to-face, or at the very least, verbally. It is far too easy to say things we don’t mean for emphasis, when we don’t have to deal with the reaction that our comments can create.
Learning to have face-to-face confrontations is just the first in many things that we need to learn on conflict. Over the next 2 weeks, we are going to be discussing what it means for us to have conflict with our teenagers, and how we can walk our kids through conflict with others. But if you will excuse me, I can’t write anymore because I just saw a twitter notification that Joel said something mean about me, and I must immediately respond with a witty, but vengeful comment.