The Peacemaker

March left like a lion. Or at least it appeared it would.

The central Minnesota snowstorm on March 31 and April 1

On Tuesday, the last day of March, the school district assessed the winter storm swirling outside and sent our children home two hours early. Their decision was premature. The blowing snow and winds settled down before the students even left school.

At home, my two youngest donned their snow clothes to play in it. They invited some new neighbors over to our house to build forts in the backyard. It seemed like a peaceful break in the storm until another two neighbor boys arrived on the scene and attacked—literally. One threw my son down the hill and shoved a snowy fist at his nose.

The unprovoked attack brought my son inside with his first bloody injuries of an adolescent boy fight. When a mom sees that much blood, she doesn’t usually take it well. And I didn’t. Granted, the blood was from a bloody nose, so the injury healed quickly and washed away, but the greater issue remained.

I talked with the new neighbor about what her boys witnessed. I rehashed the other bullying incidents. I considered calling the police. But, I called my husband, instead. He listened to our children’s account on the speaker phone and advised against calling the police. He called the perpetrator’s parents for a meeting that evening at our house.

The boy’s father appeared with his son at our front door, and I directed them to my husband’s office. Since the mother didn’t come, I stepped out of the conversation and let Paul manage it. I imagined he’d lay out the facts of the situation and expect them to make it right. Only a few minutes passed before Paul summoned my son to his office. He returned in good spirits and so did Paul after a little more time.

“What happened?” I said.

“I asked him to tell me what happened,” Paul said. He went on to explain that if he just accused the boy, he would become defensive and his dad would be defensive. Instead the truth came out, he apologized to my son, the parents identified a common cause of the bullying, and Paul extended a firm understanding of the consequences if the problem persisted.

I hate conflict. The whole experience stirred me up in a tizzy that day. But when Paul brought it to a peaceful conclusion, I learned from my peacemaker.

Sons need their fathers after a fight, as much as they need their mothers. A father’s experience among men balances a mother’s emotion-filled reaction.

Ask your enemy a question rather than accuse him. He just might tell the truth, or something close to it. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

And, so, a lamb appeared along the way.

The soft snow covering a flowering crabapple tree


  1. Rebecca
    Apr 3, 2009

    I don’t know if it’s just one of those weeks, but this post made me cry! I was just picturing myself in your place and imagined how angry and sad I would have been that my child was hurt by another child. And then to have the situation resolved in a happy way…sob sob sob.

    And once again, you shed such great light on a situation. The balance that mother and father bring to the life of a child is amazing and truly divinely designed.

  2. Sarah (GenMom)
    Apr 4, 2009

    Wow, that was a tough one! Glad it turned out okay and that your husband was able to handle it so calmly and deal with things in such a wonderful way. I don’t think all dads (or moms would) have been so rational. Great way to use the scripture to deal with life.

    Have a great Easter week!

    Praise the Lord. He is Risen!

  3. An Ordinary Mom
    Apr 7, 2009

    I learned a lot from this post. I need to be more of a peacemaker. I learned a lot about this virtue this last weekend by watching conference.

  4. e-Mom
    Apr 7, 2009

    Stunning photos! And this is so true: “Sons need their fathers after a fight, as much as they need their mothers. A father’s experience among men balances a mother’s emotion-filled reaction.” I’m thankful for the steadiness of men. :~D

  5. Rachel
    Apr 29, 2009

    Is this story during the time your husband was the bishop? My dad was a bishop for a while, and he came away from that experience with a very calm, peacemaking spirit about him. Not that he wasn’t calm or a peacemaker before, it’s just been magnified. Bishops are so wise!

  6. ph
    Apr 29, 2009

    Rachel: A bishop’s wisdom is most often not his own. It’s a gift given. Without it, it wouldn’t be possible to function. You’d get too much wrong too often.

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