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Friday, November 17, 2006

The Day the Oatmeal Hit the Floor

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity." Psalm 133:1 NLT

Some days I feel like there are the fights and arguments themselves and the times leading up to the fighting and quarreling among my children.

I have to remind myself that raising children requires training them in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16) and that if they exhibited the right behavior or followed the right path all the time--or even most of the time--we wouldn't have been given so much instruction in God's Word on training children.

Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it. Proverbs22:6 NLT

Webster's defines training as guiding the growth of mentally and morally and instructionally so as to make proficient. When I taught school, one key to mastery was repetition...so, each day we set out to "Do everything without arguing..." (Philippians 2:14)

We practice over and over all day long, day after day.

My children hear my common refrain, " God gave you brothers and sisters to be your friends...you get to live with your best friends...you never have to be bored or play alone. Enjoy one another. Be kind to one another. Love one another."

Isn't that every mother's desire, that her children would love one another?

Then suddenly it comes...the moment...If I'm not paying attention I can miss it. They are playing a game--together...having fun--together...singing...talking... reading...cuddling...camping...coloring...running...jumping... racing...whatever... they're just doing it together--wonderfully, happily, joyfully--together!

These are the moments I pause to savor...to say a prayer of thanks that God's truth is sinking into their souls. I love to engrave these images on my heart holding fast to the memory...my children enjoying the fruits of loving one another...of the blessing of living in unity.

I've also noticed these times are coming more and more frequently and lasting longer in our home.

They're learning to pick up where they left off the evening before, to share, to take turns, to submit to one another; quite simply, they're learning to love

Then something happens to reinforce it...as if I ever had any doubts.

It had been one of those days...the arguing kind.

I was tired. They were tired.

I was hungry. They were hungry.

It was almost dinnertime. Time to call day it and look forward to a beautiful, new tomorrow...a new beginning...a do-over.

I was feeding the baby. They were all in the kitchen.

Then I heard it...the commotion...the bickering...the rustling...the semi-explosion...the loud gasps...the snickering...the whispers...the quiet giggles...

As I carefully treaded my way to the kitchen, I saw it, an entire canister of oatmeal on the floor...on the counter...in the drawers...behind the refrigerator...everywhere.

The kids were all huddled together tightly holding hands staring at me wide-eyed. They weren't fighting or blaming or accusing or pointing any fingers. The oatmeal had hit the floor...this was serious!

The oldest spoke, "We all did it--together."

They stood silently slumped in the corner of the kitchen, waiting for me to lower the boom. I had to turn around to hide my smile...together--we did it--together...magical words...happy words...music to my ears.

"As long as we're working together," I say, "let's clean up together." One got the broom, one got the dustpan and one got the vacuum.

We worked--together.

I felt reassured that when they need each other the most, the days the oatmeal hits the floor, my kids will pull together as a team...as friends...as a family...as brothers and sisters who love each other and will be able to see one another through any trial.

We got it...the reason God gave us brothers and sisters.

"A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17 NLT

Whether it be sickness, loss or conflict, my hope is that they will love each other through it, remain loyal, and hold each other up when one is weak.

I pray they will learn to love one another as brothers and as friends.


Kathryn Berilla said...

What a wonderful story. I love to hear when mine are playing nicely. Usually when Michael is trying to teach Alex something or Alex wants to be "just like Michael, right momma".

Those times when they do not get along I love to remind them that they have a relationship with each other that no one else in the world will ever have.

Jennifer Bacak said...

This is one of my greatest prayers for my kiddos. And I too see the fruit of it. It's so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

tk smith said...

i love it, lisa. that is a fantastic story!