Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

Today the kids helped me wash down our patio and driveway. (Don't call the water police. Sometimes sweeping just isn't enough.) James' job was to use a push broom to push all the water and leaves that get stuck along the side of the driveway into the street. He thinks it is great fun.

I left him outside to finish up while I took Lilly and William in for a bath. When I called James inside, he asked me to come look at something first.
"I have a surprise for you," he said, with a song in his voice.
"Oh, what is it?" I asked.

He pointed at the kitchen windows. "I washed the windows for you."
With a wet, dirty broom.
The very same windows that Aaron washed last weekend.

"Oh James, that was so thoughtful of you. What a kind thing to do. I love you, sweetheart."

Of course I also had to tell him to never clean our windows with a broom again, because our tissue paper windows break if you shut them too hard. Or wash them roughly with a broom.

You know, I could have been irritated. I could have yelled, "James! What were you thinking?"
But I didn't. I am learning.
I am learning to look at my children's hearts, before I look at their actions.

Do you remember this? One morning last week I was exhausted by 8:30 am. I had been up very early with Lilly. When she went down for an extra early nap, I told the boys I was going to lay on the couch for 20 minutes and rest. They were to play quietly in the schoolroom, dining room or kitchen.
I fell fast asleep.
It seemed like only a minute later I felt someone breathing on me. I opened my eyes, and there, 1 inch from my face, was James.
"Mommy," he whispered. "We made you a feast."

All I wanted to do was keep sleeping. But they had a spread laid out for me that they were so proud of. 2 bowls FULL of nuts. Crackers. Grapes. 3 cups of ice cold water. And 3 kinds of candy so I could choose the one I liked best: candy corn, a mint or chocolate.

"See Mommy, now we can all have a snack and you don't even have to make it for us."
"We knew you needed a break Mommy."

I really could have been irritated this time. Don't you know you never wake up a sleeping Mommy unless there is poop, barf or the house is on fire?

But I didn't. In the best way they knew how, those 2 boys were taking care of their Momma. What sweet, giving hearts they have.

So many times I miss the heart of the matter. I miss what matters all together. It is very easy to focus on a child freaking out, crying or arguing with a sibling. But I find that if I stop and get at what is going on in their hearts, the outward behavior is quickly changed. Most of the time there is a reason for their behavior, and it isn't just "they're tired".

My prayer is that I would be as gentle and careful with their hearts, as God is with mine.


Erin McDonald said...

Well done! We are always learning! Praise the Lord his mercys are new every morning! and that he also cares about the heart of us too!

Summers Family said...

Loved this! Thank you for sharing. I will be working hard next week to get to "the heart of the matter" with the boys more often. I miss them SO much right now (still at the hospital with Belle)and can't wait to hold them close.

Thanks for being you!