“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Psalm 47:1 (NIV)
God knew what He was doing when He created our family as one where I needed to work. He knew that He created me as a nurturer, a caregiver to the nth degree. If you’re reading this, you might be chuckling right now because my household doesn’t look like the pages of Good Housekeeping or Martha Stewart (or whatever is the standard one measures herself against these days). Our house is very lived in. I referred to that issue in my post, Welcome to Our Version of Chaos.
However, back to how God created our family perfectly for us. When our oldest two were much younger, I ran a daycare out of our home while I studied medical transcription. I had a household of children six and under and loved it. However, because I wasn’t into slave labor and the children under my care were treated like family without the chores attached, I didn’t think it was fair to make my own kids do chores either. I was able to get the bulk of things done around the house during the week which left our weekends and evenings for family togetherness. My children knew how to put away toys, but I didn’t make them clean, do laundry, etc.
Even after I shifted from daycare to medical transcription full time, with only two kids (one and then eventually both in school), I was still able to maintain the house during “working hours” and our evenings and weekends were free for family fun or I would catch up on work after everyone was in bed. It worked out well.
By the time the third child arrived, along with more work, I started to need help. Our oldest two were definitely capable of helping out around the house. Fast forward to present day when we have two teenagers and an elementary school child and they do the brunt of the work while I juggle two jobs, volunteering at school regularly, serving at our church, etc. And I realized that’s a good thing. It’s not free labor… it’s helping them own responsibility and learn satisfaction from a job well done.
That point was driven home to me several times in the last few weeks. The time was when I observed one of our children rescue a stuffed animal from our dog, get out the sewing kit and fix said stuffed animal before the owner of the animal even knew surgery was required.
The second time was when I brought our youngest home from school and he noticed his bird feeder was empty. “Please, Mom, can I fill it before Dad gets home? I know how – I just need you to help me reach it.”
Who can resist that?
After handing it to him, I walked away to feed the bearded dragon and start supper, knowing full well he was quite capable of the task. Five minutes later, he was upset with himself because he had spilled birdseed everywhere in the house. Now, I’m sad to say that my response, even a month ago would’ve been to see the mess and “one more thing I need to clean up” over the heart behind the child who created the mess. Instead, though, God allowed me to see it for what it was… a learning experience.
He had the opportunity to learn from me how to pick up the majority of the mess and then he got a lesson from a sibling in the joy of running the vacuum.
Most importantly, I got a chance to see how blessed I am to work and how the benefits ripple throughout the family. I get the privilege of working from home so I don’t miss those moments that will never come back. My kids get the benefit of learning important skills they’ll take with them when they eventually leave our house. And they get the benefit of teaching those skills to each other as well as helping each other out “just because.”
In order to learn, we need to be able to make mistakes. And, sometimes, that means a little (or a lot of) birdseed gets spilled.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017