“Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.” Matthew 23:26
I had several melt downs this summer over my kids’ ingratitude. Despite planning fun adventures and play dates for them, they were greedy instead of grateful. Almost regularly, I’d hit my limit, and then scream and yell at them for it. That would work for a week or two; but, inevitably, they’d end up ungrateful again.
It took until the last week of summer to finally figure out a way to open their eyes to my perspective.
I had left the last two days of summer unscheduled so we’d have a chance to assess, and see what two things we wished we had included. Based on my kids’ ingratitude, I made the last day “Role Reversal Day.”
Not only did my kids have to do all my chores, but they had to plan the last adventure, and make it all about me, not them. I wanted them to realize the time and effort that goes into planning an event, and do so, not with the intention of them having fun, but of me having fun.
I have to say, they did a fantastic job! As the sensitive one, Mason took the lead. He consulted with my husband. Together they created the perfect day for me: breakfast and my Bible alone in my room until 10 a.m.; reading and games with my kids on the back deck until lunch; lunch at Panera (that they paid for); a mommy movie alone on the couch while they did their chores; and pina colada smoothies, made by them, on the back deck. They also wiped down all the bathrooms, cooked the meals for the day, and emptied the dish washer.
I was blissfully grateful to them all day long. But at the end of the day, I asked them how it would have felt if I had complained that breakfast wasn’t long enough, the games weren’t fun enough, the lunch tasted terrible, the movie was boring, or the pina coladas were a disaster?
They finally understood how hurtful it is when you work hard to bring someone joy, and all that person does is complain, or want more. I have to say, it’s one of the best solutions I’ve ever come up with: they got a hands-on lesson that will hopefully last a long time; and I got to be pampered at the end of a busy summer!
What I didn’t account for is the lesson I learned, yet again, in the process. As I sat with my Bible and breakfast that morning, I realized how long it had been since I had truly connected with God. I realized my fuse had been so short with my kids because I wasn’t going to Him often enough to be refilled.
When I came up with the Role Reversal Day, it was to fix my kids’ attitude: the Mathew 23:26 proverbial cleaning of the outside of the cup. I didn’t factor in that my attitude needed fixing: the proverbial cleansing of the inside of my cup.
Without a doubt, Role Reversal Day needed to happen. But maybe if I had fixed my own attitude earlier on in the summer, I would have seen that theirs needed to be fixed back in July. Maybe then there would have been a lot less yelling on my part, and a lot more gratitude on theirs.
Questions For Reflection:
* Are my kids grateful for what I do for them?
* If not, could I have a Role Reversal Day so they could see things from my perspective?
* Did I spend enough time with God this summer to fix my own attitude?