Living with uncrumpled hearts

As the heroes are beginning to settle into studio life and starting to feel more comfortable with each other, it is inevitable that frustrations begin to surface. It may be a sibling’s uniqueness that annoys another sibling, a disappointment when a hero must wait patiently to use a certain material, or the rubbing of two different passionate viewpoints on the playground.

And yet, what a beautiful opportunity each day for the heroes to press into real life and learn real skills – like how to resolve conflicts and respect each other. This process of learning to navigate relationships is a daily, one-step-at-a-time journey.

The Heroes learned this week that they are a group of real-life Avengers. Each with special powers and gifts that help the group win and are different from each other. What they didn’t realize, though, was that they were under attack. A monster called Conflict was seeking to destroy them. If Conflict was able to keep the Avengers frustrated and unable to work with each other, their powers wouldn’t be strong enough to defeat him – and all would be destroyed. The Heroes had to build up their combined superhero strength – and fast. Only 4 minutes remained until Conflict would be near enough to completely overtake them. The only way to build up strength was through a tool called Conflict Resolution. So we practiced what to do – sharing “I feel ___ when you ___” statements with each other, and responding to each other saying, “I hear you saying that you feel ___ when I ___ – is that true?” We talked about how when we feel hurt or angry, it may feel like our heart is like a crumpled piece of paper; and how important it is to give space for each other’s heart to unwind and become uncrumpled again. So as the heroes shared their feelings, they gave their crumpled hearts to each other. Then, as the receiving hero listened and paraphrased what they heard, they would slowly begin to uncrumple the other hero’s paper heart. What a neat picture of empathy. Through motivated and focused hard work, the heroes were able to build up enough combined superhero power to defeat the enemy! They did 18 conflict resolutions in the 4 minutes! Woo hoo! They saved the world again!

Each day we have been practicing these skills in the ebbs and flows of studio life – seeking to live with uncrumpled hearts. I’ve even seen siblings choose to have a conflict resolution (or “conflict revolution” as my daughter says) instead of continuing to be mad at each other. Other times, they aren’t quite ready yet. However, these moments of courage as they choose to etch a new skill into their moldable hearts are precious. They are powerful seeds that will yield much fruit in their lives as they continue to grow!

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