Why my mom told me to hit my brother

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My mom had a bold parenting strategy while I was growing up.  My older brother and I would be in a tussle that escalated until it got violent.  She would separate us and force us to look each other in the eyes for a few seconds.  She said, “This is your brother.  You love him.”  Then she would calmly say something shocking.  “If you really want to hit him, go on.  Hit him.”

In the dozens of times I was face to face with my brother like that, I never hit him, and he never hit me.  Mom knew our love for each other would win.

Even when we were fighting with each other, we didn’t really want to be.

Have you ever had a conflict with someone and even you really didn’t want to be in that conflict anymore, but they refuse to admit they are wrong?  What if it no longer mattered if they admited they are wrong because you love them?

Whether it’s your spouse, your sibling, an old friend, or a co-worker, stop the fight.  It’s not worth it.  Pretend my mom is making you stop passive aggressively escalating the situation, gossiping about them with others, or literally insulting or hurting them.  Pretend my mom is making you look that person—a real human, a precious creation of our Lord—in the eye, and she would say, “This is your _______.  You love him or her.  Do you really want to spend today fighting?”

You don’t want to fight with them.  The energy you’ve already spent on the conflict isn’t worth it.  Just let it go.  The world isn’t going to be a better place because you were right and they were wrong.  The world will be a better place because you didn’t let a silly fight ruin a relationship for another second.  Let your love for that person win.