I have a confession. My kids summer was not all fun and games.
I made them weed...a lot.
Yes, every week we tended a local garden that provides fresh produce for the local food pantry. Many days I endured whining, complaining, and thinking I am the worst Mom in the world. Yet I persevered and we showed up every week to weed, water and harvest.
Why didn't I just go by myself?
Yes, that would have been easier and it would have been nice to have the quiet time.
I am hoping to grow compassionate hearts in our children. I want them to know life isn't all about them, life is also about helping others.
One week I heard, "summer is supposed to be fun" flow from one of their mouths. And my initials thoughts were ... well ... there were curse words involved. Instead of giving life to that negativity I chose to...
Pause. Breathe. Pray.
I told my children to sit down and watch me weed.
They sat. I weeded.
In truth, I had them sit because I needed time to diffuse the ticking time bomb within so I didn't explode on them.
Then I had a soapbox moment.
"Yes, summer is a fun time. Please share all the things you have had to experience this summer?"
"Okay, I will help you." And I started listing off things they had done this summer along with places they have had the privilege to go.
Then I continued...
"You have had a fun summer while others don't have the ability to go to the grocery store and buy their own food. So yes, I will inconvenience you once a week for a couple of hours to weed, water and harvest the garden so you can use your hands to help those who need it."
Then I dropped the mic;-) Actually, I invited them back to weed beside me. We worked together and got the job done.
I know growing compassionate hearts in our children will help them in life. Even though engaging in these types of activities isn't always happy-happy joy-joy, it is worth it.
And since that little soapbox moment, my kids have been really pleasant while going to the garden each week. I am hopeful what I said captured their hearts. The truth is, only time will tell. Until then I will continue to engage my kids in activities that will help them grow compassionate hearts to help build them up as stronger individuals - from the inside out.
May we as parents always have the wisdom to know what is best for our kids, and the courage to follow through...even when it is hard.
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character..." - Romans 5:3-4a