When you get to be of a certain age, whatever that may be, you think carefully about the advice, encouragement, reprimand, etc. . . that you give to others. Why? Because you have to practice what you preach and you may have to eat your words.
As a parent, I’ve experienced the un-earthly moment when you say to your child, “No, you have to wait for that! But that’s okay because good things are always worth waiting for!” That was said 5 minutes after I asked the Lord why He was making me wait for something. It was like slow motion by the time I got to the end of the sentence. Was that God smirking? Clearing His throat?
I recall that during the early, (translation: LEAN) years of my husband’s self employment as a plumber/electrician, my dear friend who was praying for work for Dane, suddenly realized that it may be HER water heater that went out to answer that prayer! Yes, the rubber often meets the road in our lives and the skid marks aren’t pretty.
I see others struggling with things and I want to tell them that it’s okay! God is in control! Don’t worry about that! But before I open my mouth I must ask if I have been worrying about something, especially something that they can tell concerns me. Am I practicing what I preach?
We are all ‘testifying’ to something in our lives as we live before others and display our traits – am I grumpy or cheerful? Do I tackle the work before me and get ‘er done? Or do I waste time complaining about how hard it’s going to be? Am I gracious and pleasant to those around me – or rude and short tempered because I believe I have a legitimate complaint about my situation?
As a (former) stay at home mother of 3 sons, I realized early on that I could pass my fears and attitudes on to them, or I could change my ways and keep them free from the childhood debris that often has kids limping into adulthood. Well, not entirely free, but certainly I was obligated to do my very best at the job of parenting.
For example: I managed to make it to my mid 40’s without ever being stung. As a child, I partially believed this was because I was able to out-run a bee or wasp and that’s why they never caught me. At the sound of buzzing, I would jump out of a car – run to the other room – or hide some where. Great panic would sweep over me.
As an adult, I recognized that I would pass this panic onto my kids and I needed to get a grip. After all, flinging the car door open and leaving kids strapped in their car seat to fend for themselves while I was screaming outside was just wrong, and it made me realize that I had to change my ways. Kids will do that to you – big blue eyes that reflect all of your faults back at you. You see things about yourself that you never saw before and try to deal with them for their sake.
Attitudes needed correcting (mine, not theirs). They were blank slates for me to write on, and I wanted to write well.
I wanted them to know the joy of working hard at something, and then becoming familiar with the wonderful feeling of standing back and looking at what you’ve accomplished. Moving furniture around and seeing a new room take shape. Splitting wood and seeing the woodpile grow higher and higher. (Wood warms you twice, you know.) Mowing the lawn and being struck by the beauty of those stripes of accomplishment, not to mention all the mental stuff you deal with while you’re going ’round and ’round the yard. The first song I ever copyrighted was written while I mowed my yard!
Good work ethics are sorely missing in this country. So many of X gen’s adults go into the work force with the attitude of ‘you’re lucky that I showed up’, or ‘do I really have to work all 8 hours to get paid?’ Where do they get this? From parents who lead them to believe that every employer will be so thrilled to have them that they’ll make exceptions for them.
I have a friend who works in an adult home as her second job. When she arrives at work for the lunch shift, all the young kids want to go home. Mind you, they hired on to work the breakfast and lunch shifts, but one meal is just exhausting and they need to go home to rest after 4 hours of work, leaving her to do lunch all by herself for the most part. (She’s in her 50’s and can work circles around them all!) One kid was hired as a dishwasher and then stated that he wasn’t going to do dishes! His mom called and complained that ‘he shouldn’t have to do dishes – couldn’t you find something easier for him to do???’
Why deprive your child of experiencing the value and reward of hard work? Why not show him the wonder of influencing his work place by doing the best work you can possibly do with the best attitude the employer has ever seen?
My youngest was working for a moving company fresh out of high school and loved hard work. He was not impressed with his co-workers slacking off every time the boss was out of sight and finally said to him, “My mom can work harder than these 2 put together.” So, his boss hired me. After all, I am a Minnesota woman – remember Garrison Keeler’s opening for Lake Woebegon? “Where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are all above average.” Well, that fits here. I happen to be ‘strong like bull’ and could lift and carry it all. We worked several jobs together and had great fun!
My oldest was hired by Johnson and Johnson when they opened a plant here to produce a new lens for eyeglasses. He had no college degree, was 22-23 at the time and was hired based on an intense interview that evaluated his attitude, his ability to work with others, and his skills, obviously.
One day, my transmission went out just as I ‘happened’ to be driving by his work place, and I was able to coast into the parking lot into a parking space. A few guys were outside on break and I called to them and asked them to get my son to come out so I could drive his car home. When they heard his name, one of them said, “You’re Jarl’s mom? I tell ya, we could use a few more like him around here!” It does make a mother’s heart swell with pride.
But this is what I am getting at. Bear in mind that the words that come out of your mouth will come back to you for consumption, so make them pleasant and palpable for others to hear, as well as sweet to taste. Parents, be prepared to hear from your Heavenly Father the very things you tell your children. “You need to obey”, This is for your own good”, “Be patient and kind”, and know that, as you are instructing and disciplining your children so that they can have a carefree life, your Father in heaven is doing that for you. Choose your words carefully. My word for today is . . .’chocolate’! ;o)