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The Buddy System

The first time I heard about the buddy system was during a TV special about the Duggars...before they had their own show, back when they only had 13 or 14 kids.  It is the one and only show of theirs I've ever watched. I have nothing against them, I'm just not into reality TV.

Their buddy system is a lot more involved than ours.  We don't expect our kids to bathe or dress one another (but then we only have five kids...if I had 13 or 14 I'm sure I'd change my tune).

Basically, we implemented this system because there are only two of us and there are five of them and we can't be everywhere all the time.  So when we go out into public, our kids know that if they have to use the restroom, or be separated from us for any reason, they take a 'buddy' (ie, another wild indian). I love it because it gives them a lot more freedom but also keeps them safe.

The number one rule of the buddy system is...use it. Duh. The number two rule of the buddy system is...you never leave your buddy behind. YOU STAY WITH YOUR BUDDY.

It's not always fun and it's not always easy.  Sometimes one kid wants to run faster than the other one...so either the kid going fast has to slow down or the kid going slow has to run faster...or a little of both. But one of those things HAS to happen. Because YOU STAY WITH YOUR BUDDY.

Sometimes it means going places you don't want to or are afraid to go. But you go anyway because YOU STAY WITH YOUR BUDDY.  Sometimes it means NOT going somewhere you want to go because your buddy has something else in mind and YOU HAVE TO STAY WITH YOUR BUDDY.

Sometimes it means watching while your buddy does something that they might get into trouble for but insist on doing. It doesn't mean you participate or approve...but you stick around in case they need help.

The only time it's okay to leave your buddy is if they are hurt or in trouble and it is beyond your ability to help them (which would include destructive behavior that they refuse to stop).  This scenario is one of our biggest reasons for implementing the buddy system in the first place. Someone knows where you are, knows what you're going through, can advise/warn you when needed and find and direct help your way.

It's a good system. It's not an easy system. It doesn't work if the buddies both demand their own way all the time.  It's a miserable system in that case. I ask my kids this question a lot "is getting your way worth being miserable over?" or "do you want to get your way or do you want to have fun?" Because it IS a choice. And most of the time they decide they'd rather come to some sort of compromise or give up their way all together rather than keep arguing.

The buddy system is a thing of beauty when both buddies work hard to make it work. There is so much fun to be had!

Being an adult isn't much different than being a kid and being married is a lot like the buddy system. It's not always fun and it's not always easy. Sometimes you have to slow down or run faster or go places you'd rather not but YOU STAY WITH YOUR BUDDY.  It requires a lot of dying to self and looking out for the interests of the other one and sometimes deciding that getting our way isn't worth being miserable. But when we treat it properly...it gives us freedom and safety and fun...and it's a beautiful thing.

Philippians 2:3,4
1 John 3:18

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