Hopefully the week to come will be a busy one around here. I’ve been faced with an avalanche of conviction that that verse somewhere in Deuteronomy about teaching your kids as you are going about daily things is really not getting enough attention by me. We waste so much time. A typical day is usually spent with me alternating time between the computer or a book and rushing around the house in spurts getting household tasks accomplished and the kids playing or watching their daily allotment of video time. By the end of the day, a lot of what I’ve done is already trashed or simply needs doing again, and the kids are bored or fighting. I’ve decided I’m tired of negative parenting. Somewhere along the line I read (if I find the source, I’ll let you know) that the best time to teach kids how to behave wasn’t after they just messed up. The idea is to show them where their heart should be, and let that guide their actions before they get to the point of sinfulness. Of course, mistakes will still be made, but by starting from the inside out, the changes are more lasting, and the lessons remembered less painfully. Unfortunately, I discovered, the point of needing correction is when we seem to do the most active parenting around here. Since that revelation, we have improved things somewhat, and we’re more on the lookout for “teachable moments,” but I haven’t gone so far as to create them on purpose during the day. That’s going to change.
The apartment is constantly a cluttered mess, complicated by five people in a space meant for two or three to live, and too many things in it. In a fit of frustration, I declared to Sam on Friday that my job is simply impossible to do by myself. Don’t get me wrong, Sam is a wonderful help and I can’t illustrate enough here how grateful I am to have such a willing and helpful husband. What I mean is that I am overwhelmed with keeping five people fed, clean, and in an organized living space, and that’s basically a minimum of what I expect from myself as a wife and a mom. So, I’m recruiting some help.
Elanor is seven now and Amaryah is four, both are of the age where they could be learning more than their current jobs of clearing and washing the table and picking up their toys when instructed. I’m ashamed to admit that they really haven’t demonstrated self-induced responsibility too much yet, and I fault myself mainly for that. So, we’re going to work together this week, and if it takes all my patience and three times as long to get things done, so be it. Elanor has been longing for some time together with me, and I’ve been too busy doing things for her that we could be doing together to see that that (doing things together) is the answer. So, consider this not only a confession and a call for accountability, but a request for prayer as well. It’s not easy to a) admit defeat, or to b) open my daily tasks to being delegated to those who might not do them as fast or as well as I can, but when I look at the long-term benefits (having kids who know how to do their own laundry and make their bed –and feel a compulsion to do those things without being reminded), I think I can live with it.