“Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.” James Dobson
Having or being part of a family requires a lot of dedication, patience, sense of humor, ability to compromise, patience, listening, faith, endurance, persistence and did I mention patience? This weekend, our family pitched in to give us their help around our house. We had two chairs that needed repairing, some branches to be taken down, trim work that needed restoration, and they came to bat for us. Our children are definitely a blessing at any age, but it seems we turn the tables on them when we get old and now require their assistance like they did when they were learning how to live. We’re in the midst of a metamorphous at 80 years old. Our bodies have given way to gravity. Muscles have been replaced with droopy skin and if you have a tattoo with a ship on it, the ship has most likely sunk. Our minds are still intact, but our bodies have difficulty getting up and back down again.
When we started our lives together so many years ago, and began to plan to have children, we weren’t thinking about raising responsible adults, but somehow that happened. The days of having them help with chores around the house was designed to teach them, but it was also a tremendous help to us. The scolding to clean their rooms seemed a never-ending story. Helping with the lawn mowing, shoveling, doing the dishes were all tasks that helped them learn how to work together and solve problems.
I had one sibling – a sister who was born almost five years after me. We didn’t hit it off in those early years. In fact, I often came up with ideas to make her life miserable. She never fails to remind me of those deeds either. For example, when it came time for us to do the dishes, I conned her into believing I would be responsible for all the dishes except the silverware. She didn’t realize I was talking about the scalded, darkened, pots and pans as part of the silverware. I was only trying to be creative and teach her how to think outside the box. Oh, the things she put up with.
My own children had chores to do, but they weren’t made to feel like slaves, although they never received a monetary allowance. They often grumbled and complained while doing them, but we are now reaping the rewards of what they learned so many years ago. Thankfully they are making their own lives now, and they still include us.
Thank you, God, for family. Though miles may at times separate us – though time is often hard to sacrifice – though it seems like we are now the children, and our children are our parents – we’re eternally grateful for the blessings we receive through our family. Your love is amazing. Thank you for giving us this wonderful gift. Amen!