"For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave." 1 Corinthians 7:22
There was a young woman who lived in a boot.
She had so many children, her life was a hoot.
She never washed dishes, nor yet swept the floor.
Her kids did all that, so she had a few more.
Laura is my neighbor. She and and her husband Shane are currently expecting their fourth child. This little poem was written as a response to the question "Why do you have so many children?"
Of course those of us who have children know that these things are some of the bonuses of having them around. I have often been refered to as a slave driver, by some people in my life, because my children have chores. Adon is four and he empties the dishwasher and brings in fire wood for the day (usually ten pieces and recently Daddy informed him that he can haul them in his jeep! Yay Dad!) Emma is three and she brings all the dirty laundry downstairs to the hamper. They both clean up any of their toys (and Ephrim's who is 6 months) and clean their rooms and make their beds. When we are done a meal they will clear the table and they put Daddy's cereal box away every morning. These things may sound like too much for children their ages, but let me tell you, they're not.
What a blessing to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house and have the children clear the table when we are done our meal. We can see how much it blesses those around them. And it's not just the act itself that blesses, it's their attitude. They are so excited to be able to do something for Grandma, they know that they are showing her love and appreciation for the meal that she has made. Not only that but they are showing Papa their love by serving him.
This did not happen overnight, and it is not always accompanied by a positive attitude. There are days when Adon returns into the house without completing his job over and over. There are days when he'll abandon his job all together and I'll find him playing with the hose in a dirt pile.
"But don't you think you're being so hard on him, he's only four! Of course he would rather play in the dirt!"
I'm almost Twenty four and I would still rather play in the dirt! That will never go away for my children. All through our lives there are always going to be things that we would "rather do". My goal for my children is to teach them the blessing of working hard and being able to rest and play in peace knowing that all of your tasks are completed. This is something that evaded me for about 22 years! I was never given chores that I was forced to complete. Play was always the most important thing in my life, what mattered most was my "happiness". Now years later I look back and see how things could have been different and how it all could have been a lot easier.
When I look at our world I see the majority of my generation in the same predicament. We are the millenium children, we were the ones that couldn't fail in school, we were the first to be able to swear at our teachers and completely disregard authority. I have a few thoughts as to why this has come to pass but that is for another entry.
In the end, my children spend a lot of time together playing, with their siblings, their parents and many others around us. The majority of their time is spent in a dog house (kitchen table), a castle (block towers), baking with mom, or in school (our dining room). My children are thriving, thanks to no TV, very very little time playing electronic games and no preschool. Now don't get me wrong I am not "anti-preschool" or "anti TV" we are big fans of TV, especially during the play off season. These are just things that we have chosen to go without more than with. They are things that we do not want to be the focus of our lives.
I am a "slave driver". I make my children to chores. I make them use their manners, please may I, thank you, and they answer when spoken to.
"But Sirena, today at church when I said Hello to Emma she ignored me and even game me a dirty look!"
Yep she probably did... it's the Diva in her. All I can say is that in this home we have a standard and part of being the "Slave Driver" that I am is training. And that training probably won't be done for another 20 years. If she does it when she's 10 then please let me know.
There is going to come a day in the life of my children that God will call them to do something that is unpleasent and uncomfortable. In that day all of our training will be weighed. Are they going to be ready to say no to self and do it regardless of their comfort? Are they going to be able to do it with joy knowing that the are serving their Lord and glorifying His name? Or will they decide that it doesn't make them feel good enough or that they have better things to do?
It's not just the training that will make a difference. It is an example. It would be really easy to say, "Oh I'm just not a hospitable person, and I'm really not good at making conversation. There are lots of people that are in our church that can do that, my kids will see it that way." Our children aren't looking at other people in the church everyday at their kitchen table. They aren't watching how the pastor interacts at the grocery store when someone drops their things all over the floor. It won't help them much is Mrs. Boon would have helped them pick it all up. Please remember that there are little eyes on you all the time. They want to see if you will smile when someone says hello or if you will give a quarter to a hungry person.
When God calls your child and they refuse his call and leave his will, those few moments of extra training that seemed exhaustable will suddenly seem like the smallest price that could have been paid.
God Bless you as you seek to find those moments in your day to form your child's character and Happy Slave Driving!
Note: The author of this blog in no way agrees with the actual practice of Slave Driving.