As a parent, and specifically as the at home parent who is with our children the most during the day, I am constantly trying to get my children to be more helpful, kind and considerate. Often, it can seem like I’m speaking Greek to them because, like most kids, they can fight and with and irritate one another, despite whatever I say or do. And then something happened over the weekend that helped assure me that my words are heard and that my efforts as a parent have not been entirely in vain. I caught my nine year old son being good!
Actually, I didn’t catch him being good. I just heard about it from my friend Austin, who is a pastor at my church. He stopped me in between services on Sunday morning to tell me how much he enjoyed chatting with my son the previous day while I was playing trombone with the worship team during our two hour rehearsal Saturday afternoon. It was news to me that Austin and my son had chatted at all, since my son had planned on reading his new favorite book series (Series of Unfortunate Events). Austin told me that while my son was quietly reading in the mezzanine he (Austin) was in and out of the large room, getting things ready for the 6 pm service, when all of a sudden my son appeared (Austin had been working with his back to my boy) and asked Austin if he needed any help. Even though he didn’t need the help, Austin graciously brought my boy to the kitchen and had him wash some dirty dishes that would be needed later. They talked while washing dishes and doing other tasks once the dishes were done. Austin complimented me on my son’s behavior and willingness to offer his help without being asked or prompted.
I was floored. Sure, there are times that my son willingly does his daily chores and sometimes even offers to do things without being asked. But, for him to do that somewhere other than at home made me think that he’s really beginning to understand; that my parenting is making a positive difference. It was one of those moments that will encourage and inspire me to keep on parenting even when it seems like my kids are not listening to me. After church, I gave my son a big hug and told him how proud I was of what he did the previous day to help out Pastor Austin without being asked. Once we got home, I made a point to tell my wife about his helpfulness in front of him so that he would hear (again!) how pleased I was of him.