by Michael Holland
“Take things always by their smooth handle.” -Thomas Jefferson
There is a civil and respectable way to deal with kids and situational conflict. Seeking a smooth path -a path of least resistance for all involved- can produce greater outcomes.
As a father, you make choices every day regarding how to handle conflict in situations which vary in intensity and exposure. As you resolve these conflicts, your behavior reveals your values and models how you expect your kids to handle similar situations.
Maybe Jefferson had less dynamic people with whom he dealt as they hammered out the wording for our Declaration of Independence. But maybe it’s us. Maybe we are too far removed from working daily with our hands on tools as in Jefferson’s days. Maybe we can’t feel the difference of working with a new, rough shovel handle versus the well-worn, smooth handle. And maybe it’s because of this that we haven’t had the opportunity to sense the difference in comfort and confidence of well-used tool, and reflect on it’s parallels to life with people.