Last Friday I was blessed once again when Nathaniel stood beside me at the sink asking if he could finish the dishes I had started to wash. Up to his elbows in water, he scrubbed pots and pans until the last one was dry and put back to rest in the cupboard. He’s caring that way.
Each and every time I return home with groceries, he’ll rush past me, load himself up like a pack mule and say, “It’s okay, Mom. I got them!”
Some days I look at this little man growing before me and I see a gift in the future for just the right girl. All in God’s time.
Last night I got to thinking about behavior and how children conduct themselves in one of three ways.
1. You have a child who plops down on the couch waiting for the world to serve his every need.
2. A child who will get up and help you or help themselves when they are instructed to do so.
3. A child who will take the initiative to live beyond themselves by helping others before they are asked.
While number two illustrates good behavior, we see how the third scenario depicts a child with excellent behavior. The question however that’s been lingering with me for about fifteen years is How do we get our children there?
How do we get them to that place where they say, “Mom, do you want me to fold this laundry for you?” or “Dad, do you need some help with the drywall?”
When I say fifteen years I’m not exaggerating by any stretch of the imagination. I started thinking about this when Brendan was about five-years-old and he’s almost twenty-one now. I knew that I wanted him to have a servants heart, but I didn’t know how to instill that in him. What was I doing right? What was I doing wrong?
As youngsters, my sisters and I instinctively gave up our seats to elderly people. We said thank you when we were away from home and offered to help with the dishes if we were guests at their table. Servant-hood was ingrained in our soul. Again, I’m not just talking about girls here. I know plenty of men who respect others, who cherish them, and who are willing to serve them without being asked.
Unfortunately there’s this modern mindset that tells women that if they serve their husbands their sons will grow up to be self-centered, chauvinistic pigs because that’s the example we’re setting for them.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Bible tells us to,”Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proberbs 22:6, KJV
So the answer to the question that lingered with me for the past fifteen years? An exemplified life. If you want a child to grow up with the attitude of going the extra mile for others you must be willing to model that behavior while they are growing under your care.
To think that serving your husband would cause him to take advantage of you is unreasonable. If you’re married to someone that’s self-centered it’s not because your tender loving care has made him that way. In fact people are more likely to mirror your behavior than they are to swing the opposite way.
The perfect scenario for growing children is to see two parents who are willing to go the extra mile for each other. A family who is serving one another other in each their own way.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45, NIV
You are loved by an almighty God,