As we made the transition into parenthood, my husband and I would often talk about how our children would be great helpers when they were older. “Paul is going to help with Bible studies” Nat would say or we would joke, “one day the kids are going to bring us breakfast in bed.”
When Paul was around two years old, he began to show interest in cooking. It was so cute to watch him try to move a heavy dining room chair into the kitchen to get as close to the stove as possible. Next he was grabbing a spatula to cook scrambled eggs, stir the tomato sauce or even flip pancakes. Before long, he was eager to help wash dishes. (Good thing we have tile floors!) Anytime I got out the flour, Paul knew that he was going to “help” Mommy make cookies, which included taking the cookies off the sheet and putting them on cooling racks. Of course the best part of helping is when you actually get to eat what you make!
Of course, things would go so much faster and it would be much easier on me if I just did it myself. Many times I’m tripping over little people or chairs as I scurry about the kitchen, trying to finish meal preparation. Yesterday it seemed to be that very thing. It was a long day of teaching in the morning and preparing for a Bible study at night with other things in-between. I was trying to hurry as I kept glancing at the clock, knowing that dishes and folding laundry needed to be finished before I turned my attention to my evening Bible study. I was severely tempted to tell Paul that it just wasn’t a convenient time to “help” Mommy, when something I read earlier in the day came rushing back to my mind: reject ingratitude and choose gratitude.
Now that Ellie is older, she too gets in on the action. We’ve developed somewhat of a system when it comes to dish washing in that one of them rinses the dish and the other puts it into the dish rack. It helps to emphasize the concept of taking turns. The kids really like to help snap beans and they are now getting to the point where they truly are “helping” Mommy.
At that point of inconvenience, I had to ask myself this question: Was I happy my son wanted to help, knowing that his character was being developed? To be honest, no, I wasn’t. Aren’t you glad when the Lord challenges you where you’re at not to stay there? I’m thankful to say that the Lord moved on my heart to respond the right way, even if it meant taking a little extra time.
Living in Thailand is a daily adventure for Anne Williams and her family of six. In between all of the many language blunders, running after toddlers, and giving the neighbors plenty to smile at, she is grateful God’s grace is always available just when she needs it.