A Brilliant Solution

My husband and I were talking about our experiences raising our two children. I was amused that he remembers them fighting all the time, and I hardly remember them fighting at all. He himself was an only child and I was the second oldest of 5. So I guess that’s the difference between upward and downward comparison.

The discussion of arguments did make me think of one ongoing conflict that the two of them resolved in an absolutely brilliant way.

It happened when we got our first family computer. They both wanted to use it, and had the predictable arguments, “You had it for two hours yesterday…” “Yeah but you had it more over the weekend…” “But I need it more because…” “But that’s what you always say…”

Here’s what they finally worked out between them.

If one was using the computer, the other could come say at any time, “I want to use it in 30 minutes.” That started the clock, and possession turned over at the 30 minute mark. The one giving it up could say, “I want to use it in 30 minutes,” in which case the clock started again.

What made this so effective is that there was no more reference to the past, no accounting for who had used it more, no squabbles about who needed it more. The solution was absolutely simple, in the best interest of both, and they stuck to it.

I don’t think I’ve seen any other quarrel resolved so effectively.


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