This post was an article I wrote for my local newspaper when my four children were little. Years later when my children got older three of them moved in together. By Christ’s grace as a family we did learn to move from being gunslingers to peacemakers.

My house resembles a war zone more than a home. Two of my kids in particular seem to have been in a constant shootout throughout their whole lives. Sometimes it drives me so wild that I get out my gun (which is far bigger than theirs) and shoot the blazes out of them. The result? Quiet for about 5 minutes and then bang, bang, bang. Kids are so frustrating; they don’t come with an instruction manual, a volume control or an off switch. If you have several then they seem to take driving you crazy in shifts, whether it is by fighting with each other, complaining or having to be told to do everything every single time.

I’ve been learning that my kids are gunslingers, not just because they were born that way, but also because their Dad is a sharp shooter himself. How will they learn to resolve their conflicts if I always pull out and use my gun? Then I asked myself how I’d come to the place where my kids had just become annoying to me, like a disturbance in my tranquillity? Do I love my own comfort more than my kids? So far I have to admit that I have failed to help them get to the heart of their conflicts, focusing only on achieving peace as quickly and as effortlessly as possible.

If my kids are going to change from being gunslingers to peacemakers, then I have to change first. This involves me learning to leave my gun in its holster even when they are firing at me. My desire is to love my kids by getting to know them better. Why do they fight so much? What is it they are wanting which makes them fight? Engaging them together in safe discussions will be a good start to helping my whole family begin to change from being gunslingers to peacemakers.

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