One evening a few nights ago the four of us were straightening up around the house before dinner. My wife had just come home from the store, I had just loaded the dishwasher. Our kids were, well, they were being kids.
My precious daughter was practicing gymnastics. Taking a running leap at the ottoman in our living room, she flipped herself right over the top of it and landed with perfect precision. On the dog. Neither party was harmed.
My son was watching TV. Or building something out of Legos. I think he was doing both. Yes, he was building something out of Legos that he saw on TV.
Realizing that God gave us children i
n order to make our lives easier to glorify Him I thought “Hmm.. How can we continue to shape these two angels into the young man and young woman they were called to be?”
It was time to assign a chore.
This wasn’t too hard with my little girl. “Sweetheart? Can you come help Daddy by feeding the dog?” This merited the response “Feed him to who?” “It’s to whom, cupcake, and I meant give him some food.” Strangely, the same terrier who had just received the full weight of my daughter because he had foolishly lain on the ground where her mock balancing beam was, now eagerly and with tail wagging followed her into the pantry.
“Son? do you think you could give me a hand taking out the trash?” My son looked up from his Legos and said “No”.
I looked back and said “Excuse me?”
The thing about my son is that I have long since known he is very honest. It’s not that he’s trying to be disrespectful or shirk his responsibilities. It’s simply that I need to wait the three seconds for him to formulate the reason why he won’t help at this particular juncture. And that reason made sense. He was in the middle of a particularly difficult Lego connection and stopping right this instant might cause him to drop the pieces to the floor where the dog would then eat them (owing to his hunger because our daughter had not yet fed him), and then the dog would die. So sayeth my son in his explanation.
The other thing I know about my son is that he will always come around to doing what is right. He may say no at first and protest but, when reminded of the primacy of obedience to his parents, he will always do what he is told. He’s a good boy.
With that in mind, I allowed him the two minutes to finish his task. He, in turn, came and took the already tied up bag of trash from me. “Careful son, it’s heavy,” I said. “I’ve got it, Daddy,” he replied. “Now just take this and put it in the can in the garage,” I told him. He must have still been thinking about the Legos…
A minute later I looked at front and noticed that my son the garbage man had taken the bag all the way to the curb. Well, we’ll work on following precise instructions but I was still impressed that he got it all the way out front.