I like everything organized, planned and controlled to a T. I get a lot done and don’t have much time to waste over pity affairs or things of small importance. Even finding time to play and enjoy life can be somewhat difficult for me, because I love my work. I enjoy it so much that I could do it all day. So when my kids come home from school and after we’ve all eaten lunch, I don’t mind the fact that they’ve now grown up a bit and like to do things on their own. They each have their own projects they like to work on or when they prefer playing, they’re great at agreeing on what to play with together.
So all the better for me, I get to use up that time for more of the work that I enjoy and love doing, all the while getting more accomplished. Because every little moment counts, right? Putting Ephesians 5:16 into practice: “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Or another way to put it is that I don’t have time to play because there is just too much to do.
But is that really the case? I began to think about my time and then one day I found myself at my desk, with my boy on the side, with his chair next to mine, and my girl on the other side of the room, on my bed, covered in papers and crafts. What did I do to get into all this? But I was enjoying every minute of it. My boy had invented a card game and wanted my help to lay it out on computer and so together, we spent at least an hour at it. All the while, my little girl craved for my attention too. So while Alvin worked on the part that he knew how to do, I rushed over to the other side of the room attending to her needs with her art project. And back and forth, back and forth till the projects were up, or more so till time was up and it was time to get back to school.
When they returned from school that day, they seemed a little more loving, a little more polite and a little more appreciative to me. Have I really been that distant so that when I do spend a little time with them, they love me so much for it? I haven’t taken advantage of little blocks of time to spend with my kids? Not really, because I am with them plenty during the day. I am there when they get ready for school. I am there to cook for them. I am there to remind them to clean up after themselves. I am there to enjoy mealtimes together. I am there to read to them at bedtime.
But I realized that all that time I spent with them or all those things I did with them were more about me, or more for me. But how much was I doing to enjoy them being themselves and appreciating their own special gifts and talents, taking pleasure in helping them perfect their gifts. Not doing things for them, but being there with them to share the moments of accomplishment, to let them take pride in what they can do, with a little of Mom’s help.
I think that’s what made the difference. It wasn’t me doing it all, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t possibly juggle two desperate kids, both craving for my time and attention. So we all had to cope with taking and giving to each other. I gave the helpful know-how or show-how that I could, but then I stepped back and let them took it from there. I have been accustomed to doing things for them, so that it comes out perfect and just the way that I want it to.
This simple experienced proved to me that encouragement is the key. A big part of encouragement is just showing up, being there with them, for them. But it’s not doing things for them, helping them getting it just right, so that I can have a feeling of accomplishment. They need to feel that and it only happens when they do something on their own.