Enthusiastic – Being excited and zealous about life!
Isn’t that kid enthusiastic? I believe he is jumping on a bed… What kid wouldn’t be enthusiastic about that? It’s really easy to be enthusiastic about fun things, like jumping on a bed, or running through a sprinkler, or chocolate. But when it comes to things we’re not so keen on…
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men.” Colossians 3:23
The Word says “Whatever you do…” and “work at it… as working…” – God calls us to be enthusiastic about everything. Everything we do – whatever we do. In play and work. In chocolate and…
…learning from your mother. Yes, enthusiasm flowed very nicely from my last post about intelligence. Remember? God wants us to be intelligent – someone who is eager to learn! Our first day using our new curriculum was Monday. And it was like pulling nails. We started off very simple – I asked him to circle the date on a little calendar I made for him. And he started crying… saying he couldn’t. That he didn’t know how to – when I know full well he circles everything under the sun on a normal day!
This actually has been a phrase he’s been repeating recently: “I can’t!” From putting down the toilet seats to drawing circles on a calendar – all things he has done many times before… When he doesn’t want to do it, all of a sudden he “can’t.”
We stopped right there, with red crayon in his hand, tears running down his cheeks. Since this was an issue of control, not of actual ability, I grabbed up a Bible and read to him Philippians 2:14 (fresh on my mind from Amanda’s post ): “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” I gave him a huge hug, and I told him that when I asked him to do things, I knew he could do them! I wouldn’t ask him to do something I knew he couldn’t do – and if I did, I would help him do it! God wants him to have a happy heart at all times, not a complaining (crying) or arguing (angry) heart. When Daddy or Mommy asked him to do anything, he should do it with a happy heart!
Elias started laughing through his tears – all it took was hearing that God wanted him to have a happy heart! He took his red crayon and drew a careful circle around the date, and then we continued on with our little lesson – no more arguing or crying! I dare say he even had fun doing our “school time” together. Later that morning, we came up with a new chart for him:
When he does things with a happy heart, he gets a mark under the happy heart side. If he argues, complains, or disobeys, he gets a mark under the angry heart. Granted, right now the angry heart is winning out. But he is working on it!
For example – today was Elias’s 3rd dentist appointment ever. The first two times were rather unsuccessful – no cleanings involved, and last time, he wouldn’t even open his mouth. But today… boy! We had some “trial runs” in our bathroom during the past week, starring me as a dentist, and we talked the way there about being brave and excited about seeing the dentist. We even talked about not arguing with Mommy while we were there or complaining to the dentist. The appointment was wonderful – with a little breakdown in the middle, between cleaning the bottom and top teeth. He started crying and saying, “I can’t!” again. But with a prayer and some encouragement, he got the top teeth cleaned, too! He was very enthusiastic about the whole appointment afterwards, and he has told everyone we’ve seen for the rest of the day about it.
It seems like a silly example – being enthusiastic about seeing the dentist. But that’s a part of “whatever we do” – a part of everyday life. It’s not always going to be fun and chocolate. It’s going to get boring and painful and un-fun for Elias at times. If his heart can be happy in all things, at all times, in playing cars and in homeschool, he will learn a part of Philippians 4:11: …for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
What else can we do to help our children be enthusiastic about the un-fun things? How can we help model this character trait for them in our lives?
this post submitted to Your Life Your Blog!