Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lessons From Parenthood

Several weeks ago my friend, Carrie, posted a facebook status update about a new slogan in her household in reference to helping with chores:
Do it with GRATITUDE, not an ATTITUDE!
I chuckled because naturally I have also had to remind my family to be "happy helpers" and that I would rather have no help than badly done help with a side serving of eye rolling or heavy sighing.

But Carrie's slogan popped into my mind again today while I was changing Miles' diaper.  I had just wrapped up the soiled diaper into a neat little bundle and I called Toby to come take it away to the proper receptacle.  I smiled as I heard the rum-tum-tum of his little feet running through the house.  He stood on tiptoes to reach the diaper, flashed a huge toothy smile and said, "Thank you, Mom" before skipping away again.

My little three year old thanked me for giving him a poop filled diaper.  He came running as soon as I called him and then he thanked me before immediately fulling my request.  It hit me then just how much I have to learn from this precious child.

Toby recognizes his dependence on his parents.  He knows he needs help to do most of the things he would like to do.  He needs help reaching toys and snacks.  He cannot tie his own shoes.  He does not have his own key to the shed where his favorite outdoor play things are stored. And even if he did, he does not have the dexterity to use such a key.   Many times throughout the day I hear, "Mama, I need help, please!"

However, Toby also recognizes that he is capable.  Now that he is a "big boy" he knows that while he can't do everything by himself there is quite a bit that he can do.  He can put his green frog boots on by himself.  He can pull a small stool over to his toy chest to reach the things on the higher shelves.  He knows how to open the refrigerator and get himself a cup of water when he is thirsty.

Right now, three year old Toby is living in this tension, this balance of being dependent and capable at the same time.  And so when his mother recognizes that he can do something to help, he is eager and grateful for the opportunity.  Even when that opportunity presents him with something kind of stinky.

I want to be like this!  I want to recognize my dependence on God.  He is my source for everything.  But God also recognizes me as capable!  He invites me work with him and I wish I could say that I always run immediately to him when he calls.  I wish I always said, "Thank you" before happily fulfilling his requests.  Oh sure, I am thankful for the opportunities to serve when it is something I like to do.  I am happy to help when it comes to decorating for a party, or designing invitations.  But what if I am asked to do something kind of stinky?  What if I am asked to be in relationship with someone who has hurt my feelings or betrayed my trust?  What if I have to serve on a ministry team with people who don't share my vision or with personalities that drain me?  I wish I didn't so often give him a side serving of spiritual eye-rolling or heavy sighing in those cases.

And so I aim, once again, to have faith like a child.  Not to be immature, but to live in that tension, in that balance of full dependence on my heavenly father and thankful responsibility for the tasks he calls me to do.

Thank you, Lord, for using Toby to teach me and please help me to do all things with gratitude, not an attitude.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Beautiful thought, beautifully written. I am always impressed with your amazing talents.


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