Moms don’t get a lot of feedback. And results are often delayed. So, it’s great every once in a while when you get an indication that something you’re doing might just be working.
Since I heard Sister Beck’s talk in May about intentional parenting, I felt really strongly that I needed to establish some routines in our home that would help me to achieve the goals I have for my children. Matt and I sat down and thought about what kinds of things we wanted our kids to know and do and be. And then I built them into a weekly schedule. (Just a loose schedule, to make sure that every goal-related thing happens at least once in a week.) Wednesday mornings are for service. I just really want my kids to grow up thinking about others and trying to show love. I taught high school, so I’m particularly annoyed by the arrogant, self-centered entitlement that seems to be the norm among many teenagers (and now adults). Anyway, on Wednesdays, after they finish their chore, we try to think of something nice we can do for someone else that day.
Today, we had to go to the grocery store for milk, so we decided to buy some flowers and take them to someone. I dropped off the flowers where the person worked and Grant and Natalie came with me. Clark stayed home with his great grandmother who is visiting from Utah. The receptionist took our flowers and card, and then offered my children a balloon. They both accepted it and then Grant said, “Can I have one more balloon please? I have another brother, but he stayed home with my grandma.” So with three balloons in hand, we walked back to the car.
Grant was happy, and he asked, “Mom, are you glad I got a balloon for Clark, too?”
I said, “Yes, that was very thoughtful of you. And kind.”
“And service?” he asked.
“Yep, Grant, you did service.”
And I felt like our little efforts meant something, and were making something happen inside my children. It’s just another testimony to me that when you feel prompted to do something, and you do it, the blessings come. In many, many cases the results are not visible for a long time. Motherhood, after all, is “creation in slow motion,” but it’s sure nice to get those little glimpses of success every once in a while.
15 thoughts on “Sometimes they get it.”
Beautiful, and I love the idea of intentional parenting. I’m thinking I need do-over!! You’ll get these payoffs frequently, although sometimes they come from unexpected sources. A school teacher who notices that your child is honest, or kind. A neighbor who wants your son to take care of her house while she’s away because she knows she can trust him. Even your spouse’s employer, who calls to ask questions about the schools in your area because he knows you’re raising good kids and he wants his kids in the same environment.
The moments are fleeting, and you have to be watching for them, but they do come.
I really do think that it’s the little things that will truly matter. Something as small as getting a balloon for his brother.
This is great Stephanie! I love the idea of building service into your weekly routine. We all need to learn (and be taught) that serving others is an important part of life. Thanks for setting such a good example and for sharing this idea!
The last time I took my son to the Dr.’s office he asked for a sticker for his brother and this Mama’s heart swelled. It’s the little things, it’s the love.
Wonderful! Definitely one of those shining moments. And I do think our kids get it and hear us more than we think they do. (Setting aside the fact that I saw a toy on my upstairs hallway floor this evening that I have sent a certain child to put away–no exaggeration–SIX times now. Maybe the 7th time (and a stiff consequence if she fails) will be the charm.)
In RS on Sunday someone said she had a friend who followed her former mission president’s advice to do something EVERY day, no matter how small, to serve her own family AND someone outside her family. I loved that idea, but it’s a little overwhelming to me, so I think once a week would be a great interim goal (and still be more than I’m doing.)
I love this post. Thank you for sharing this. We have had similar “meetings” together deciding ways to “intentional parent”. It is so easy to jump off the plan on accident and lose the way for a while. I like the idea of setting aside once a week for specific things. We have been talking about our kids needing more service in their daily lives but I often think we need to do some huge great service project as a family. This is one idea I can totally do. Just a simple act of service to someone. Thanks so much for the idea! Now I am curious what other great parenting things you do once a week are as well. please share anytime. 🙂
Hope your day goes wonderful!
Boy did I miss out with the intentional parenting thing. Too late for my kids! 😦
Wow, I usually just try to get through the day–I’ve got to listen to Sister Beck’s talk and try a little harder. Thanks!
I am in love with this post and you for writing it, in a Yes on Prop 8 kind of way.
Oh indeed. I love those moments where I find myself turning to Neil and saying, you know, we must be doing something right…that validation is such a blessing.
What a great post….I always feel I need to better at this, too. You are once again- a great inspiration!
That was simply beautiful! I wish I would have been more service orientated growing up as well as teach my children when they were young. Teenagers do not seem to grasp that concept as easy as children.
New to your blog… Thanks for this post. I’ve been struggling with my own mothering skills lately, and the reminders about “intentional parenting” as well as the talks by Sister Beck were just what I needed tonight.
That is lovely. What a great job you are doing.
It does take time and effort to parent intentionally. But the results are so worth it.
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