Aug 242010

Do you ever teach your kids things like sharing, honesty, responsibility you know, all the character stuff, and hope to goodness it sticks?

The other day we (me, my 4 kids and husband) spent the day at the pool; as soon as we walked in the door, the kids are hollering:  What’s for dinner?  I mean, we just got home.  If I could click my heels, dinner would be on the table, but give a mom a break, would ya?

Where’s my shoes?  Can you untie this?  I need socks!  Where’s my piano book? Where’s the PIANO?  I mean, really?  I think kids get so use to relying on mom to do everything, they begin to ask questions they already know the answer to.  I said:  Do you know where clean underwear comes from?  And, as if I was about to reveal where Santa Claus lives, the excitable 4 year old said:  Where?

I felt like a rebellious teenager.  I rose up and said:    The Laundry Room!  Eight little eyes looked at me as if I had said:  no more cartoons for the rest of your life!

Where are my shoes?  Wherever you put them.  Do I have underwear?  I hope so.  I felt rattled.  I said:   I quit. . . I quit . . . I quit.  They stood in Silence – Then came the giggles.  “Mom you can’t quit.”  You’re MOM.

Of course, I couldn’t  quit.  Nor did I really want too.  I mean, if someone else tried to walk in and take my place, I’d give them a run for their money.  We may complain, but we still want the job, right?

But what I have learned, is kids can be responsible for things, even at the smallest of ages, and while they may buck the system in the beginning, they sorta like the whole “team spirit” I’m apart of something “greater than myself” mentality.

It gives them a chance to see how life really works; they aren’t the center of everything, rather they’re one of MANY spokes on the family wheel.  It’s good for them to see how dinner gets made, and how clean shirts make it from the laundry basket to their closet.

They begin to take pride in helping with the dishes, the laundry, cleaning out the car and sweeping the kitchen.  Look at your to-do-list, tear off a piece and give it to them.  Before long, they’ll expect a chore or two, and before you know it, they’ll be cleaning the house, making dinner and doing the laundry. . .  I’m envisioning it now.  It’s all a process.  Just stay consistent and the rewards will be great.  Until then, has anyone seen the piano?

Teach me to number my days, that I might gain a heart of wisdom and fulfill your purpose for my life.  Psalm 90:12

 Posted by at 11:12 pm
Aug 172010

When I sold my business to stay at home, I figured – if I was the CEO of my company, I’d call myself the CEO of my household.  Hey, I run this ship, right?

But kids don’t care what titles you hold, who you know, or what you do for a living . . . When they’re little, it’s all about what THEY want.  I notice, each time I go to the bathroom to pee or even take a quick bubble bath, it must set off a silent alarm somewhere in the house.  As soon as the bathroom door closes, the kids come running.  It doesn’t matter if they’re watching a movie, playing in the backyard or riding bikes on the cul de sac.  As soon as I close the door to the bathroom, it becomes someone’s duty to knock, I mean – bang, cry, shove notes underneath or plead urgently for food.

In the minute it took me to pee, one of the kids colored their tennis shoes with a blue highlighter.  Why did you do that, Johnny?  Well, I was trying to tell you I couldn’t find paper and you weren’t listening.” Yes, it’s because I was IN the bathroom.”

I can hide in the closet to eat a rice crispy treat, (because it’s the last one – and frankly, I don’t wanna share) and what happens?  They come running.  It’s like they were born with dog ears, that can only hear high pitched sounds, like cookie wrappers and bathroom doors closing.

I can say:  Clean your room – And what do I hear? Nothing, but cricket sounds.  But you go to the back yard to sneak a piece of chocolate and they’re hunting you down like a heat seeking missile.  If I holler for the boys to clean their room, they can’t hear me.  If I call their name with a high pitched voice, they’ll come running; it’s like a horn blowing for a cattle call.

Like Bert is to Ernie, and Ying is to Yang, so it is with our children – doors close, they knock.  Wrappers rattle, ears perk up.  That’s what kids do.  It comes with the territory.

Just as death and taxes will always be with us, so will little hands knocking on doors and pint-sized sniffers smelling chocolate, after they’ve gone to bed.  Embrace the little-ness while it lasts.  One day, you’ll get to pee in peace, eat that last cookie in broad day light and be a respected CEO, once again.  But until then . . . embrace it ALL.  They are your little sniffers and door knockers. And we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap a harvest, if we do not lose heart.”

 Posted by at 11:55 pm
Aug 052010

When we go to my parents house, it looks as though the Circus has come to town.  After a 7 hour drive, the mini-van door flies open – and little clowns are jumping out, one by one, by one by one.  Chic-Fil-a bags, sippy cups and nintendo games are leaping out the sides as if they’re trying to escape; sounds of cups rolling down the drive way and baby cries escalating are enough to make anyone run for the hills. Just as my husband pops the trunk open, out jumps a back pack, 2 stuffed animals and my make-up bag decides to explode.

Ah, the joys of traveling with the Circus.  No matter how much money you have, it is never enough for all the things they want: food, clothes, braces, music lessons, endless ice cream and toys.  No matter how many diapers you bring, it is too few.  The potty training-kid leaves a black line on the toilet lid; little Johnny did an art project on his face with a Sharpie Pen, and the dog pooped in the back room, because no one took him outside today.

Then there are the hugs, and kisses . . . the first time your baby girl says:  Mama . . . the giggles that come when they understand their first joke, conversations they have with their little siblings in the back seat, as they fight over whether daddy flew to You Nork, or  New York.

Our job as the Ring Master can be tiresome and relentless.  My mom laughed that we didn’t need to go to the circus, we WERE the Circus.  Just as attending this event has become something of the past, family life and spending real, quality time with each other has become old fashion as well.  From busy schedules and homework, to team sports and iphone texting, pretty soon, we’ll look around and the circus has packed up and left.

Did we spend real quality time with our kids, soak in the moments (eye to eye, knee to knee), let them wrestle on the floor, play with their barbies and listen to their big ideas that took 10 minutes to spit out?  Did we really look, when they wanted us too, or are we saying: a huh, yes, sure, in a minute, maybe later, not now . . . . without even a gaze in their direction.

At some point, we’ll have a view from our back porch looking in, and we’ll realize the Big Top Circus has packed up and left. There will be an old tire swing in the backyard, reminding us of days gone by, a tree house that now only whispers of the fun times had.  The loud noises we hear are now coming from our neighbors driveway . . . sippy cups rolling down the road, Chic-fil-a bags falling out the car doors and make-up bags exploding as baby cries escalate.

Don’t be in such a hurry, flying here to there, flustered over stuff that doesn’t really matter.  What you have is the Greatest Show on Earth!  Embrace your job as the Ring Master and when it’s all said and done, there will be no regrets.  It will be: Well done, My Good and Faithful Servant.  Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend, if you’ve invested in your circus and embraced all the moments, they will always come back and visit.  And they’ll think You’re The Greatest Show on Earth.  Here’s to Happy, Healthy Families.

Matthew 25: 21

The Master was full of praise.  “Well done, my good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you more responsibilities.  Let’s celebrate together.”

 Posted by at 10:16 pm