We’re slowly making our way through the Christian Character Traits list we started at the beginning of the year… And it’s time we started thinking about how God wants us to be HELPFUL: ready to serve at any time! ‘They help each other. They say to one another, “Be Strong!” (Isaiah 41:6).’
If you’ve been reading IYK from the beginning, you may have picked up the fact that I’m a bit of a control freak. I tend to mention it when my boys aren’t doing things the way I want them to… having kids has really helped me step back and try to let go of things that I typically freak out over (finger painting gives me the hives just thinking about it, and I almost always have a fit when we play in the sandbox. Just some examples.).
I’ve read over and over about having kids help around the house (Raising Godly Tomatoes pops into my mind – I know it’s not just about getting kids to help around the house, but that was one of the big take-aways for me when I read through it). But in my controlling ways, I rarely have given the boys any opportunities to help me with things around the house. Sure they pick up their toys. But otherwise? It gives me the shivers to think about the kids not doing things my way.
So it is me who needs to be re-trained in this area. Because you know what? Kids are helpful. They love to help! I think God put that character trait in them from birth and it is overly-controlling people like me who squash that out of them, saying things like, “No, you can’t do that. You’re too little. Let me do that for you. You’re not doing it right!” So they start to lose their inherent helpfulness and start sitting around the house playing video games all day long as mom vacuums under their feet.
I’m working hard on my control issues, and I’m learning how extremely helpful my guys are! Setting the table? Sure, Mom! Even if Donovan really has no idea what to do with the forks because I never really told him so he runs to the bathroom to show Elias that Mom gave him two forks as a detour to the dining room where I’m standing there wondering where the little forks went… the forks eventually made it to the table and Donovan learned where they needed to go! Dusting? Oh my goodness, they were so excited you would think I just said they could eat chocolate for the rest of the day! Vacuuming – even better when I let them use the extension brush or the smaller dust-buster vacuum!
The boys ask me to help with the laundry! They open doors for me! They pull weeds with a vengeance! They would help me pay the bills if they understood what in the world I was doing… all because I started saying, “Yes!”
Now, we have not started with chores yet – I’m still working that out in my head (have you seen all the chore/responsibility posts over at Positive Parenting 365? I’m reading through them to formulate my plan for our chores.). And… things are not always done the way I would do them. But that’s the part I’m letting go of – for the benefit of us all.
‘They help each other. They say to one another, “Be Strong!” (Isaiah 41:6).’ The “they” in this verse speaks directly to me of my boys… they need to help each other, telling one another to be strong!
To encourage Elias and Donovan to help each other (and others), I’ve just been asking them to help the other. Elias can help Donovan put on his shoes, and Donovan can help Elias find a special toy. Donovan can help hold doors open for Elias and others, and Elias can help Donovan get out of whatever situation he’s stuck in with a toy (helpful also to me when I’m up to my elbows in raw beef and can’t drop everything to help stop the crying!). At church, I ask them to help pick up things for others, hold doors, etc. – whatever situation might arise that they are capable of helping with. We even play “Help!” – it’s one of Donovan’s favorites. A toy falls down and we “help” it up. Repeat (over and over and over again).
The bottom line for me is that my boys are helpful – and if I want to keep them being helpful so I’m not vacuuming around them in a couple of years, I need to keep the helpfulness flowing! And it was as simple as saying, “Yes!”