We are hitting a stage with Zeke where I find myself saying, "Don't worry about what your brother is doing, just worry about yourself." a lot. And I mean a lot. As in every 15 minutes or so. A common shorter variation is, "Zeke, you are not the boss. I am the boss and I am in charge of Malachi."
Or my personal favorite: "Don't tell me what Malachi did, tell me what you did."
It's funny how that one can take all the wind out of your complaint.
"Malachi hit me!"
"Don't tell me what Mal did, tell me what you did."
"Why did Mal hit you, Zeke?"
"...I took his rhino."
These are all phrases that I swore I would never EVER use against my own children when I was a child. Because my mom said them. Often. And I hated it. Oh I remember my irritation, after my sister would hoard all the Barbie shoes. There was no point telling on her because the only thing my mom would be interested in is the fact that I pulled her hair afterward. The injustice of it! When I was grown I wouldn't ignore the real issue. I wouldn't get so hung up on details like why and what happened after that. I would get right to the root of the problem- the other person.
Now that I am grown I realize that my mother wasn't ignoring the issue. She was just taking it firmly out of my hands. I probably understood this even at the time on some level, but it didn't seem like much of a lesser offense. I would surely have handled it better than her because after all, she obviously wasn't grasping the true story (aka MY story).
I'm sure Zeke feels much the same way when he runs into the room yelling, "Malachi has the BBQ sauce!!!" and I calmly tell him to not worry about his brother so much and focus on himself. I am absolutely aware that he doesn't think I am grasping the full gravity of the situation when I ask him who, pray tell, opened the fridge in the first place and allowed Malachi to get into the BBQ sauce.
Because, the thing is, he isn't around when I take the bottle away from Malachi. And he isn't aware of the intricacies of Mal's understanding of the rules, or even the different rules all together that apply for Malachi. He only knows that he sees wrong. Other's wrong. And stop talking about my little wrong for goodness sake when there is that much bigger wrong going on over there! Yes I took his rhino but never mind that, he hit me!
But just think how much better a world this would be if we all followed my household rule?
Don't worry about what they are doing. Worry about what you are doing. Don't tell me what they did. What did you do?
I am fairly confident that upon death these are exactly the questions that will be put to us. That in prayer, these are the daily questions put to us.
The Lord said these things often, after all.