Yeah, I fall short of the Proverbs 31 woman and sometimes (a lot of the time) my perfectionism gets in the way and instead of trying I give up before I even start because I know I won’t complete the task to my own standard. The laundry clean in baskets waiting to be hung, the empty dresser needing wiped clean after a mouse decided to call it home. I can do this. I can do these things in under 15 minutes but the chaos in my head paralyzes me and the task list gets moved week to week until it’s so long I feel like it won’t get done unless I come undone.
My kids don’t help. At all. Ever. Okay, that’s not totally true, my son will help when he is told to, but if I ask I may as well be fighting a shark over a blood-raw steak because it just isn’t going to happen. So I feel like I am either snapping orders or snapping because I have no help and the truth is no one wants to snap and no one wants to do it alone and that picture perfect “yes mom” world we dream of when we are holding infants in arms makes us wonder where we went wrong because after all, my kid is going to do chores, is going to get straight A’s, is going to be in sports, never talk back, be helpful, courteous, well-mannered and never throw a fit in the store –ever.
But, after the first few weeks of their lives you realize that you aren’t perfect. Getting your body back isn’t happening the way you had planned, they aren’t sleeping through the night or eating enough and you realize that it’s all in His control because SOMEONE has to have control and it certainly isn’t me or you.
Now that the kids are older I still find myself reminding them to say please and thank you. A week or so ago I thanked someone and one of my children asked me why I always say “thank you”. Maybe leading by example also means that they need to know the why behind it. Why are you thanking the youth pastor or the pizza guy or the mail clerk for doing their jobs? Isn’t getting paid enough?
No… Child, it’s not enough to throw a tip at someone when you can throw a smile and offer your sincere thanks and praise. It’s not enough to think that they have enough since they are being paid.
We give thanks because Jesus gave thanks. That sweet eucharisteo spoken as He thanked His Father God for the wine, the food, the friends and family and strangers and everyone who could and would ever be saved.
I can order my child to do dishes and thank him for it because he did them, even if the attitude stinks, and show him that what he did was helpful and appreciated and that he is an asset to the family and the house instead of someone who simply lives here. I can thank my daughter for cleaning her own room even though she is 13 because it looks nice, she did a great job, I am happy she took initiative and I want her to know that her good works don’t go unnoticed and later on in the day, or while standing right there in her doorway I can say a thank-you to God for them being compliant, eager, willing and independent.
A lot of people have been talking lately about this book that’s name slips my mind right now, it’s a book about decluttering your house and living simply and in it the author speaks about thanking the items in your house and allowing them to rest. Thanking your socks for being walked on and serving your feet, thanking papers and dried out pens as you toss them out for making your life easier while they lasted. While I personally don’t talk to my objects I can understand where the author comes from.
If we are going to give thanks to everything we have and even to things that we don’t have, then we are going to be more content in our space, more caring of our objects, our lives and as a result happier because we are counting our blessings. You know, not everyone has socks to warm their feet, let alone put away. Not everyone has a dried out pen, or has ever held or seen a pen. People minister around the world without ever having held a Bible and I have 6. Keeping the gratitude journal alive and truly being grateful keeps me on track. It keeps me feeling real and it makes me realize what others lack.
Going forward I will continue to give thanks and be grateful for the opportunity to teach my kids (and myself) especially when they feel entitled and ungrateful because gratitude when given and received is wrapped up in heart and the heart is full of His unconditional love.