Time for Work, Time for Play

Hard at Work

Time for Work

We had three of our grandsons spend two nights with us this past week.

NO parents!

We had a great time and I tried not to spoil them TOO much. We always have our grandchildren do “jobs” when they stay with us, before they get to play.

It has worked so far…they keep coming back.

Their job this time was picking up weeds after I pulled the weeds up. (I pull the weeds because I want the flowers to remain.) They did it very well and then they got to play.

We have a very small creek (it should really be refered to as a “branch”) that is overflow from our spring. It is a boy magnet! After their job, they love playing in the water which is not very deep, but it is wet and muddy. Just right for young boys. They also rode bikes, played baseball, and ran around on the old logging trails that criscross through the woods.

We are so blessed to have a place where our grandchildren can play. But it is also important that they know how to work. Their parents all require them to do certain chores at home. Yet we also want them to realize that work is important, even when away from home.

If we don’t require our children to help with chores, we send a very dangerous message – “someone ELSE will do it for you.”

We required our own children to weed a row in the garden before we went swimming in the summer. They did not always like it – but it helped them learn the importance of work.

(Is this why none of them raise their own gardens now?)

It is important to balance work with play. Some helpful ideas are –

  • work first, then play….that way children won’t be “too tired” to work, or it may get dark
  • make sure the job fits the age of the child…. painting the house may be too much for a 5 year old
  • work along with the children…..don’t send them off to do it alone
  • don’t give them a job to do you wouldn’t do yourself….there are child labor laws in the USA
  • brag on their positive efforts…..encourage follow through until the job is complete
  • take pictures of them working…..just like you take pictures of their play
  • celebrate the end result!

Ephesians 6:6-8 (NLT)

6 Try to please them (your master/boss/parents) all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

Our grandsons were very proud of the work they did and we were pleased that they genuinely helped us. Helping our children and grandchildren learn the satisfaction of a job well done is a blessing that will benefit them their whole lives.

Time for Play

Time for Play

 

 

Harmony

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We have been blessed with a new granddaughter this week. She is adjusting well to life outside the quiet confines of the womb. Although, since babies hear inside the womb, having four brothers meant that maybe it wasn’t so quiet after all!

The blessing in this is that baby Rachel sleeps right through the busy play of her brothers – she is conditioned to the noise of active play.

The addition of this precious little one has given the impression that all the parts of this family form a coherent whole. Does that mean that if Rachel had been a boy, or another child had not been added to this family that it would not be complete?

Not at all.

It does mean that once a child is added to a family through birth or adoption it is hard to imagine the family without that child. Each member of the family has a part in the family that is unduplicated and special.

I remember when we found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child and her older sister was just 6 months old. I was overwhelmed and exhausted, yet here was another child growing inside me!

I cannot imagine our family without the presence of this child, now a mother herself.

In art, the definition of “harmony” is as follows –

“The arrangement of elements to give the viewer the feeling that all the parts of the piece form a coherent whole.”

Ephesians 4:3 Amplified Bible

3 Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of the Spirit in the binding power of peace.

 I love how the Amplified translation uses the phrase – “binding power of peace”.

What a beautiful image  – when we make the effort to keep harmony in our relationships, it will BIND us together in peace!

As an artist, I must be intentional about creating harmony in my art work. I cannot randomly add color or objects without a plan, otherwise the completed artwork will not be harmonious. I always sketch out my idea first on paper, even if I am planning to work in clay or make a handmade book. This way, I can see if the parts come together in harmony before I use valuable time and supplies. I can make needed adjustments in the sketch.

Romans 12:16 Amplified Bible

16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.

Giving ourselves to humble tasks creates harmony.

My students often wanted to “just start painting – I know what I want to paint”. I required them to engage in the “humble” task of drawing first. It ALWAYS paid off.

Giving ourselves to humble tasks creates harmony in our relationships.

Changing diapers, cleaning the bathroom, planning meals ahead of time  – all these humble tasks create harmony. Instead of opening the refrigerator at 5:00 pm and seeing if there is anything for supper (my common practice when our children were small) planning meals ahead helps avoid stress when the family is hungry.

My friend Carol and I were sharing recently what a blessing it had been to have our mothers come and stay with us when our children were born. Both were wonderful examples of doing the humble tasks that helped create harmony in those days of adjustment after a new baby comes home.

Carol and I have both recently had the chance to do what our mothers did for us – now for our adult children. (Carol has had three new grandchildren this year!)

May we create harmony in our realtionships by binding ourselves together in peace and serving one another with humble tasks. What a blessing this will be to our families!

You Go First

Hawkins - 1st day of school - 2024

“I got to be the leader today, Nana. I was first in line.”

That was the highlight of two of our grandson’s week in school. They were so excited about being the leader and being the first in line in kindergarten. They told me this on the phone after I asked them, “How was school today?”

Now there is nothing wrong with being first. Someone has to be first. I found out soon after we started dating that Phil had a very different idea about being first in line – or being in front of ANYTHING.

I always like to sit in front. This is probably because I always sat near the front in school. My last name started with “B” – Barker – so when we were seated alphabetically, I was near the front. I was also placed near the front, sometimes SMACK up against the teacher’s desk because – can you believe it? – I TALKED TOO MUCH.

I know some of you are thinking – “she hasn’t changed in 53 years”. Others are thinking – “no wonder….”

Phil on the other hand had a last name that started with “W” – Woody – so he sat near the back. He liked sitting near the back and NEVER got in trouble for talking.

“Phillip is such a pleasure to have in class. He is a model student.” his report cards always said.

Gag….

So, we soon realized that we couldn’t sit together. I wanted to sit in the front – he wanted to sit in the back.

(Don’t worry – we have worked it out and we do sit together.)

Our culture celebrates being first. First place, first in line, first prize, first team all-stars, first edition, etc.

If someone cuts in front of us while driving and beats us to a light or an intersection, we fume about it and may even lay on the horn.

Recently Phil and I were driving somewhere and were running a tad late. I knew we would get there on time if we hurried. We were making good time until Phil slowed down and let someone pull out in front of us! Then, when a car next to us signaled that they wanted to move into our lane, he waved them in front of us!

I was irritated by each car that was ahead of us, seeing them as a obsticle to my progress. Truth be told, I was also irritated with Phil.

Phil saw these opportunities as a chance to be kind and thoughtful.

I started noticing his pattern while driving and I realized that he consistently lets people ahead of himself in line, lets others go first, and is not pushy nor aggressive. He just quietly waits his turn.

Jesus taught his disciples about being first

Mark 9:33-35 (NLT)

33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

What a great example to his disciples and to us.

Are we being that kind of example to our children and grandchildren? Do we let others go first? Do we make space for others in line or do we fuss and honk if others crowd in?

I need to be like Jesus and let others go first with the heart of a servant. Don’t you feel blessed when someone lets you pull into a line of cars?

Pass that kindness on to others.