To say that I have been working overtime with my children on their attitudes recently would be an understatement. Insisting on first time obedience with a cheerful heart is tough work, isn't it, Mommies? But it is good and it is right. And it is being done in my home now.
Early last week I expected my children to grumble and complain, and sadly, ignore me for the first few times I instructed them to clean up their mess. After a much need pep talk with a dear sister, I began implementing the "Mommy says it and it gets done right away with a smile" rule.
By the end of last week, I noticed a change happening. Two or three times I received a "But I don't want to", which was consistently and lovingly corrected. But usually when I said, "Okay, let's pick up our things now.", there was at first a tiny moment of hesitation (and decision making going on) and then "Okay, Mother! I won't complain!". (Now, most times, there is not the moment of hesitation, but instant obedience!)
Oh! How sweet that is to hear and see! And even sweeter...each time they practiced this, their cleaning became more thorough! Things got put away more neatly, and more care was taken to ensure that each toy was put away in it's appropriate bin. I really didn't think we would be reaping such wonderful rewards so soon. How faithful God is to us when we, by His grace, begin to obey to His Word!
This evening as I was finishing up the dinner preparations, I announced that it was time to pick up and set the table. I heard, "Yes, Mother!" right away, followed by the happiest sounds of a brother and sister working together to complete a task. Being busy in the kitchen, and alone (Josh is at school tonight), I didn't "inspect" the room like I usually do. After they bathed and went to their rooms to get dressed for bed, I went into the playroom to close the blinds and make sure all was locked up. The room sparkled as I entered. "Wow!", I breathed. And in my joy, remembering how sweetly they had worked together to accomplish this job, I decided they would have a treat tonight.
I put on my stern Mommy voice and called, "James. JoyAnna. When you are dressed, please come to the playroom. I have something I would like to talk to you about." They came and stood in front of me with their little "Uh-Oh" faces on. "Look around this room...(dramatic pause)...I think you two are...professional cleaners!! This room looks amazing! What a great job you did! And with such happy hearts! 2 scoops of ice cream for everyone!"
I served their ice cream in sugar cones, and then served myself. Naturally, I gave myself a little more. James keenly observed my larger helping and commented, "You get to have more scoops."
"Yes," I answered with a wink, "I get an 'adult cone'."
Josh called at 7:50, as he usually does when he is at school, to ask the children about their day and say good night. James shared how he and JoyAnna got ice cream cones with 2 scoops of ice cream, and Mommy got "an adult cone". I heard Josh say, "Oooohhh....Mommy got an 'adult cone', huh?" I couldn't help but chuckle. And then James said, "Yeah...I think it was 60 pounds!"
"Ok! Say good night!" and I commandeered the phone from that little munchkin. Then I had some splainin' to do.