Service and Gentleness

By | Posted June 27, 2012

Posted in parenting | No Comments »

“St. Francis de Sales, that great saint, would leave off writing with the letter of a word half-formed in order to reply to an interruption.”

I love, love, love this quote about St. Francis de Sales.  I read it in a devotional that talks about the virtue of gentleness.  It goes on to say that he stopped everything MID-LETTER for more than likely adults.  People who knew how to wait.  How often do we view our children as interruptions in our lives?  Just because they ask for a cup of water, for you to read a book or play with them?

As a parent, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I do everything.”  To think that nobody appreciates your hard work and to wonder why you even bother.  I have a friend who constantly talks about “all she does for her kids.”

I can pretty much say the same thing.  I do all the cleaning around the house with the exception of the hall bathroom.  (Squirt’s job.) And yes, I do pretty much everything with the kids, mostly by myself.  But isn’t that my vocation?

I’m not a big fan of people, children or adults, that act like they’ve done something grand when they are just being a member of the family.  I’m sure they feel the same way when I grumble about doing all the work at home.

Yes, I do a lot, but so does my husband.  He’s the one who makes it possible for me to stay with these kids.  Which is exactly what I want to do.  I never felt validated outside the home.  If there was ever a calling for me it was to stay home with my kids.  And I’m grateful that Lance is willing to sacrifice so that I can stay home.

Once I dared to ask Lance if he knew what it felt like to be responsible for this house full of kids.  He looked me straight on and said yes.  Then left.  I got his point immediately and felt like an ass.  He is responsible in ways that I am not.

Since I’m mainly responsible for the day to day of our lives at home, it does fall on me more than him to answer those calls from each child.  Some days it’s hard to see these kids as gentle reminders of my vocation in life.  I tell my kids they are striving to be Saints.  I guess that means I am too.  And there are plenty of days I feel like I am really “working” on it.  I have a child that asks “what’s for dinner” before he is done with breakfast.  He will tell you what he wants for each meal at least five times and starts whining if his toast is broken.  Yes, he’s bratty, but it’s my job to steer him in the right direction and not tell him that’s he’s a pain or an interruption.

I have to remember that I have five people that depend on me for everything.  Sure, some of them are independent, but overall, I am their world.  I want them to have my full attention, not my eyes checking the cell phone, half listening while they are trying to show me a new treasure from the yard.  My kids are indeed a call to service.  I need to be grateful more often and not fall into that ugly habit of thinking about just how much I do.  I need to do it.  With love.

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