Let me set the scene. We bought a new house less than a month ago that came complete with a playset in the backyard. My crazies think this is the coolest thing ever. They would spend the entire day outside if this spring rain would just stop.
Today, after naps, I socked, shoed and jacketed the crew and ushered them outside to enjoy a slightly overcast Ohio spring afternoon on the playset.
As soon as we walk outside the dog walks over to the slide, lifts a leg and proceeds to pee all over the slide. The slide, representing at least 80% of what makes the playset amazing. I yell out to the kids to stay off the slide, run in and grab the dog’s water bucket, clorox and paper towels. As I’m running back out the door, Benjamin is sitting on the top of the slide as his sister, bless her heart, is yelling, “No, Bubba it’s doggy pee!”
It was like watching it in slow motion. I yelled, “Benjamin don’t you slide down that slide. Sit still.” He looks right at me, smiles and slides.
One of many moments when I have been totally grossed out by my kids. Seriously. Yeah, you showed me. Who has got dog pee on their pants? Not smiling now are ya!
Not one of my finest parenting moments followed but I did get to utter something I never thought I would.
“Now see what happens when you don’t listen to Mommy? You get dog pee on your butt.”
I love you so much and I know you so well. This is why I have laid you down for a nap. I know that our afternoon will be filled with playtime, puzzles, wrestles and fun if you rest your pretty little head. On the contrary, I know what awaits us if you resist. Crying, fit throwing and completely unbridled emotions, oh and you probably won’t behave very well either.
You must believe you are missing something. Perhaps Mommy has a dance party, eats all the icecream or watches 15 episodes of Bubble Guppies while I sleep. I will let you in on a secret. I do laundry, unload and load the dishwasher, sweep the floors, return emails and calls and if I’m feeling really crazy, I may drink a Diet Coke while I do it. I promise Sweetness, you are getting the better end of this deal.
So count sheep, sing a lullaby or read a book but please rest Sweet One. Our day depends on it.
How often do our children have opportunities to be naughty, ornery or stinkers? Nearly every minute of every single day. Leave markers on the floor and find murals on your walls. Leave fabric markers on the floor find a new pattern on your ottoman (may have happened at my house). Buy just one of any toy and ask them to share it. Plenty of opportunity to get in trouble in an average day.
Now think of the last time you set your child up for kindness or goodness. I hope you are coming up with more times than I did. We have taken our kids to service projects at church and we have done good things for others but often we do them without the kids, or while they nap. We have been robbing them of easy opportunity to be kind and caring to others and the joy that brings.
Lastnight, my daughter and I made cupcakes for a neighbor girl whose birthday was today. We are new to the neighborhood and so are they so we have bonded over the last week as we have unpacked and they have helped us find our way around town. This morning my daughter and I delivered the cupcakes and Abigail was glowing with joy for how happy she had made our neighbor. A couple hours later the birthday girl came over with our plate and this note.
Abigail was over the moon excited to receive a thank you note. She ran in, showed her daddy and said, “I want to write her a thank you note back!”
I believe that God designed doing good to feel good so we would do more of it. It filled my heart to see my sweet girl feel so good after doing something kind for a new friend. I plan to set her up for kindness more often.
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.