Nobody Wins

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horse cowDear Lindsey,

“Nobody wins an argument,” may be true, but I still have to laugh at the professional soccer players. They look so cool on the field, so suavely athletic,…until that whistle blows and the theatrics begin. Following the referee and screaming at his back, do they really expect him to turn to them and say, “Well, now I see your point; I am glad you argued and brought me to my senses, so I will reverse that call in front of this crowd of hundreds of thousands of spectators, and blow the whistle on the other team instead.” Of course not! But they scream at the ref anyway.

Sibling bickering is a song that plays in the backseat of my car too often. When my younger two were four and five-years-old, they had the “did not!”, “did too!”, “did not!”, “did too!” chorus perfectly memorized for performance any time and any place.

I have often said that children act the way adults would if tact didn’t bridle us with censors.  I guess I can say I prefer the “control-top” version of my mouth, at least when it comes to the aftermath, but I have often had a giggle over the things the kids say…that I wish I could still say…just once in a while.

A few years ago, this was the conversation in the car from my backseat toddlers (age 4 and 5):

English: Cow Pasture Looking towards Cowhills ...

Christine: “Look at ALL those cows!”

J.R.: “Yeah, but look! There’s a horse in the middle.”

Our car sped by the barnyard.

Christine: “There was no horse! They were all cows.”

J.R.: “Yes there was a horse. It was all brown. The cows were black. There was a horse.”

Christine: “No there wasn’t J.R.! They were all cows. Farmers don’t put horses in the same yard with cows!”

J.R.: “Well THAT farmer did, because I SAW A HORSE!”

This continued and even escalated a bit, so I calmly interceded, with those “Mom lyrics” I seem to sing over and over:

“Christine and J.R. please stop the noise pollution. Remember who wins an argument? NOBODY. So just change the topic. We will never know whether there was a horse there or not. Arguing will not convince anyone and only makes it unpleasant for us all. God knows whether there was a horse there or not.”

There was almost thirty-seconds of silence in the car.

Then J.R. broke it and said matter-of-factly, “Yeah. And when I get to heaven I am going to ask God and He is going to tell you it was a horse.”


My daughter, Christine (now age 9) is reading Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People for her homeschool “business-ownership” class. She came to me today, and explained how she doesn’t understand why anyone would ever need to fight! “All they have to do is agree with the other person and say, ‘sorry.’ Then the other person can’t argue any more. But if you disagree with them, then they will never back down!”

I like her (and Carnegie’s) thoughts. If it were only as easily done as said, there would be a great reduction in noise pollution around the globe! And in the mean time, we can look forward to one day finding out if it was a horse or a cow that we sacrificed in all of our arguments that we dropped. (smile)

God bless,

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24 thoughts on “Nobody Wins

  1. Thanks for posting! My sister Olivia Shaw referred me to your blogs recently. I have two children myself that like to make noise pollution. Love that! I’m using that next time they argue. I especially loved your sons response, made me laugh. Thanks again and blessings to you and Chris and your family.

  2. Love your stories, Terri! The reminder from Christine to agree and simply say “sorry” could have saved me some time earlier this evening…and this morning! Thank God for his grace – and a forgiving husband! Some days I feel like “die to self” should be my mantra! As always, thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom!

  3. Great post Terri! If the world were made up of just phlegmatics there would be a lot less ‘noise pollution’ too, Just sayin’ 🙂

    Thanks for your continued wisdom and insight!! You’re awesome!

  4. Dear Terri,
    As usual, a nugget in your blog. Your ” homeschool “business-ownership” class” that you do with your children will be a part of the grandchildren’s schooling now. They are still very young, so we have time to prepare. You are truly a gift from God for many of us!
    Maureen Hanratty

  5. Terri,
    What a great post!
    I am so glad I get an email telling me there’s a new one now. I read it and immediately forwarded it to a couple of people who are having issues with “noise polution” at their houses. It is my prayer your words will bless them, too.

  6. Dear Terri,
    You don’t even know me or my family and yet you have helped us so much! We are a homeschooling family from New Brunswick Canada and I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while. Many, many times you’re stories have restored confidence and helped me press on.
    Thank you!

    • I couldn’t agree more! Jesus always wins, but I hate that sometimes it is in spite of argumentative words I have said to His children! Doctrine included! Thx for reading…and sharing!!

  7. Very funny! Oh boy, what I can STILL learn from such young children! It sure it home. Thank you for a refreshing post. It was a great PDCA for me! .

  8. Love that story. Having young children myself I always love to hear that other mothers have those same type of conversations that go on in the car. God Bless.

  9. Ha! What perfect timing Terri! We are in the middle of the big move and I am going to promptly find that box which holds that Carnegie book, lol…..
    Love the “control-top” version;-))
    Thanks again for your timely bits of wisdom!

  10. Great illustration…reminds me of the argument in the beginning of Fiddler on the Roof, where he thought be sold him a horse, but he thought he was getting a mule…the argument escalates to the point that the whole town starts taking sides and yelling at each other…..oh how we like to cling to our need to be right …even at the cost of….um, nothing, except a little peace and quiet in the car! Keep up the great work!

  11. That’s great that Christina is reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People”!! I love the stories about her entrepreneurial mind and actions. She is very fortunate to have parents who will indulge and grow that very important, passionate part of her. Many parents (95%-ers) would write her off as a “Dreamer”, and she may never reach her full potential. Kudos to you and Chris for encouraging and indulging her passions! I know you do the same with your 3 sons also. How many parents would take their child seriously when he says he wants to be a professional ball player, and give him the tools to do so? Not many. What a great example you are to so many other parents. I think of the influence your children will have in this world. There will be many children who look up to your son when he becomes a pro, and because of the great upbringing he’s having, he will be a great role model to them. Keep up the great work!
    Thanks for being you.

  12. Most likely it was a female donkey, they are put in with cows to protect them from coyotes, packs of wild dogs, etc. But I love the story, I get that same
    attitude sometimes.

  13. A great story and a great lesson. I remember actually hearing that story on an audio talk, and at J.R.’s ‘comeback line’ – well, let’s just say I laughed vigorously.
    While initially, I would like to agree with Christine and Carnegie, I have to say that if anything overrides the desirable benefits and outcomes of ‘just getting along’ with everybody, it is the moral directive to assert and defend truth. Truth is a dying notion in today’s ‘postmodern’ culture, where very nearly anything goes. I regularly remember ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyan, and the part where the two primary characters go through a place called Vanity Fair. They find anything and everything for sale there. Being honest, devout, spiritual people, they pass through Vanity Fair and everything it has to offer, and end up asking one question: ‘can anyone tell us where we may buy truth?’ The people all stopped and stared at them, and then laughed and ridiculed them, saying ‘the truth? Ha! Nobody would ever try to sell the truth around here, and if they did, nobody would buy it!’
    I have to say that facing the challenge of reconciling consideration of others with true principles and living them out is a lifelong effort – indeed, it is an art. My greatest model in this art is a Jewish carpenter, whom one of his followers later described as being “full of grace and truth.”

  14. Thanks, Terri. Great Life lesson from a great teacher. You always share such timely wisdom. Thanks to you and Chris for being the teachers and role models we can look up to and follow.

  15. Impressive, great idea, I think I will have my son read that book!! My exchange son also, my 17 year old daughter although has more character than anyone I have met, leads never follows and is amazing cannot get her to read to save my life, lol, well maybe if it would save my life she would. I let it slide for now as she assists 9 dance classes, dances extreme company, takes 4 classes and makes it known to her peers she is one of the only ones in her class not to do things others do and loves to be with her family. My son reads a lot of books way above his age, Brilliant. My other girls all have special needs so we work with a lot of music and musicals and such with them to hold interest.
    Thank you for all your great blogging, I have lost my creative writing for the time being, you are inspiring me. It always makes me feel better.

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