Each morning my kids have chores they are responsible to make sure are completed properly. Their first task is to get breakfast in their tummies to give them fuel for the morning. Once breakfast is complete they have the responsibility to get their daily and weekly chores done as well as their school work.
Math, reading, science, and their other subjects are important lessons, but they usually become the secondary lesson not the primary lesson. There are days when they wake up tired, their math lesson is too hard, or they would simply rather play. These are the moments when there is a far greater lesson in the moment and it goes far beyond academics.
For example yesterday it was the girls laundry day. Maddie and Naomi are responsible to work as a team to bring up their laundry to the washing machine. They are to do it without being told. If it is not brought up then they will have to either wear what is in their drawers or wear dirty laundry. Since the girls forgot to bring up their laundry last week they had more to do this week. Getting it folded and put away has become a two day process. There have been tears, anger, fits of rage, and procrastination. I however have not budged. I have given the girls grace, an understanding ear, and compassion, but I am still requiring them to put their laundry away.
What they are learning in the process is perseverance, determination, and developing grit. Once they are done fighting the process they will see their fit made the process take ten times longer. You would think when they were done they would be mad at me. Oddly they develop more security in our relationship because they know I mean what I say and I say what I mean.
They also learn that they can cry and pitch a fit or they can choose joy, it becomes their responsibility which emotion they pick. They also learn that sometimes obedience is enough. I have discovered that most of life is a mental and emotional hurdle. A hurdle that I want my kids to learn they can leap with Christ in them working through them. I want them to know Christ’s guidance, wisdom, and perseverance is inside of them.
I want them to learn and confidently know they are able to do more exceedingly abundantly than they could ever imagine. Folding and putting away laundry is part of learning this important mindset.
There is a lesson in this for me, too. The lesson is that my kids are watching what I do and listening to what I say. They are living out of their mouths and their actions are imitating the way they see me living my life. I can tell what my heart looks like from week to week by what is coming out of my kids. There is no such thing as “do what I say, not as I do”. That’s malarkey.
If I want my kids to change, then I must continually allow God to change me. I must go before the father and allow the painful process of refining. There is a bigger lesson and perspective in every situation, circumstance, and relationship. God uses everything in our lives to get our attention and to draw us closer to himself. This is also true in the lives of my kids.
Knowing that God is daily working in the lives of my kids to develop their hearts makes it easier to keep patient. It makes it easier to see them with compassion. Especially during the times it takes them all day to fold their laundry. I am able to see them with Jesus’ eyes when they have stomped down the stairs for the one hundredth time.
The heart is truly the main lesson in every thing we face on this earth. Each circumstance, relationship, and situation is an opportunity for God to work on our hearts. To each of these situations I am teaching my kids that they have a choice. They can harden their hearts and turn away or we they can seek God for what he has to teach them in everything they face.
When I remember there is a bigger lesson at hand that God wants to teach me and my kids, patience and sanity are much easier to find!