Thursday, June 28, 2007

Training Their Hearts- How NOT To Do It

Today was a bit of an emotional day for me.

First, a meeting Sweetie had that we were hopeful would go one way went another.

Second, my mom has been done wrong at her job and has been moved into a position she doesn't like and where she is completely alone AND it's 3rd shift which is hard on her and she's so hurt and discouraged. That's just so hard for my heart to handle. And all of it is because of one person who is very two-faced. I don't mean that judgementally. It's just true.

When I pulled in the driveway from the hospital this afternoon (where I take the newborn's pictures), Handsome met me outside with a cute little homemade invitation to 'Mommy's Day' where I got to relax and do whatever I wanted! He was speaking very proper and said, 'Follow me, if you will'. Isn't that precious?

As I followed him in the door I noticed right away a much cleaner house than when I left just a few hours earlier. The dishes were done, the counters cleaned, the living room all picked up, and THEN!! The kids showed me their rooms and they looked better than I've seen them in weeks! Even the bathroom was sorta cleaned!

I was so surprised and happy! What a wonderful thing to come home to!

As I walked from the boy's room to the girl's room Handsome says, 'Granny's gonna pay us each $5 for doing it'! To which he promptly got a dirty look and a slap on the back of the head from his 11-year-old sister.

Now, I admit, I did not handle this exactly as I should. Yes, I was thankful that my usually messy children had worked so hard and accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. However, I was not too pleased that it came about only after my well-meaning mother-in-law had called and bribed them to do it.

What did I do, you ask? Well, I guess the 'mommy-look' came on my face. The one that shows disappointment in her young chickies. I felt the need to give them the speech about how we should help keep our home clean because we're all part of a team and we help each other out and take care of the home God gave us and when we see something that needs to be done we should do it, etc. etc. etc.

I asked each of them if they would have done all that cleaning if Granny had NOT offered to pay them and each of them said no. Instantly Handsome and Reece Cup started crying. When I mentioned telling Granny that she didn't need to pay them Princess laid face-down on her bed and started crying. Baby Girl, after trying to convince me that she had actually forgotten about the money and the cleaning actually became fun once they started, also had a tear or two come out of the corner of her eye (or else she just rubbed her eye to where her 'secretly-applied-I'm-a-big-girl-mom-will-never-know' mascara left a streak down her cheek).


Why did I have to go and break their little hearts and deflate their excitement over all the hard work they had done for their mommy? They really did work very hard and got a lot more accomplished than I have lately. Shoot. If I were them and someone offered me $5 to clean I would have done it to... in a heartbeat!

After feeling lower than slime under a snake's belly I gathered them around me on the couch and loved on them and told them how very, VERY proud of them I was and how much I appreciated all their hard work. I told them I would have done the very same thing if I was them and that I wasn't upset with them at all. I tried to explain to them that all I wanted them to remember was that we all need to work at keeping our home neat and cleaned, even when we're not getting paid for it simply because we're a family, a TEAM, and that's what God expects us to do... to take care of the things He blesses us with.

And I guess I can let my mother-in-law off the hook with her bribe because it really was well-intended and straight from her heart. She knew that I was having a rough day and she just really wanted to bless me, which she did.

But just for the record, grandmas and grandpas can bribe their grandchildren. That's one of the many priviledges earned when you become a grandparent.

But moms, I say this with a chuckle... I really don't recommend it for us. Let's work at training our children's hearts to do common, everyday chores as if they were doing them for the Lord. Isn't that what the Word tells us? To do everything as if we were doing it for Him? It's never too early to start teaching this to our children.

But even when they do it just to get their little hands on some money, albeit 'hard-earned' money, please tread carefully and don't do as I did today and crush their little spirits. Train, yes. But do it ever so carefully.

On second thought, train another day. There will be plenty of opportunities. Just for today, I should have simply lavished on the praise and left it at that.

Their little hearts are so tender. Please think before you react or speak. I sure wish I would have.

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