There are so many great things about our vacation – 

terrific weather (rain every day = cloud cover = cool temps = aaaahhhh),

family time (and all that accompanies that!) …

plus lots of outdoor time, relaxation, & fun with our dad

… and a few chores that have been getting overlooked, thanks to sweet Clara, are getting some kid attention. (Clara’s been getting at the laundry before I remember she’s coming that day. It’s that calendar challenged thing I have going on.)

Sister Save-A-Lot has stepped up to the plate big time on the laundry front. It has actually been good for all the kids to learn that not all washer/driers are the same. Instead of opening the lid to add soap,

they had to pull out a drawer. And, instead of our powder detergent, they used liquid.

Also, the controls were a little different.
No buttons to push, she had to turn the dial and pull it in order for the cycle to start.

Small things, but still surprisingly great lessons.  She did everyone’s laundry (not just her own), never uttering one word of complaint.

This little vacation exercise has made me rethink our approach.  Currently, the kids launder their own clothes only. As Sister gathered the goods, I noticed that one of our kids had only two items that needed to be washed.  No need to go into detail which kid apparently has decided he (or she) would rather go dirty than wash clothes … the same kid later informed me that he/she hasn’t used soap in the shower since we’ve been here, “because there isn’t any.”

What in the world??!!  First of all, come tell me if you don’t have soap!!  Second, there is soap.  It just looks different because it’s “Body Wash”.  Next comment from the surprisingly non-stinky wayward child… “No wonder my hair has been weird.  I thought it was shampoo!”  Oh my word!  Yet another testimony to my enabling issues.  … Needless to say, I grabbed a bar of soap and forced the offender to head straight to the shower.

Back to the laundry, not only did Sister wash everything,

I was greeted tonight by folded clothes on my bed.

I couldn’t believe she had gone the extra mile.

So here’s a kid who has embraced her new found work skills and started to make them her own.  The interesting side-result, her attitude toward hard work has made her my Go-To Gal.  I know the others will do their jobs, but often only after I chide them into it, or endure moany “why’s”, “it’s not fair’s”, & “no one else has to do this”. It isn’t always… but I never know when I’m going to get push back.  That doesn’t mean I’ve quit on them, it just takes a little extra effort.  The result? I don’t give them much responsibility.  On the other hand, I tend rely on Sister Save-A-Lot … because I’ve come to trust her work and the spirit in which she does it.

Sister trusts me, listens to me, obeys me.  In turn I’m eager to pull her in and get her integrally involved.  It doesn’t change my love for the other kids, or my desire for them to learn.  But the fact of the matter … she’s learning more, gaining more independence (because I don’t have to stand over her every minute explaining how to do things), feeling a wonderful sense of accomplishment … and in an undeniable way, growing into a closer/more mature relationship with me.

That leaves me with a bit of an “Ah-ha” moment as it drives me (yet again) to consider my relationship with God.  Should I leave it there, or walk down the road of the obvious?  As if the countless stories (Old and New Testament), the parables, the admonitions hadn’t given me enough of a clue … this kid has offered quite a hands-on, compelling indication of what I know to be true.  The stronger my faith (resting in what is known rather than seen), the more I listen, the quicker my response, the less I complain/push back … the deeper my intimacy with God, the quicker I’m called, the greater my peace/contentment.

So maybe you’re not into the spiritual parallel… you can apply it to any work situation.
The lesson for me, the one I’d love for all my kids to grasp? Be the Go-To, non-complaining, independence gaining, teachable worker. Though counter-intuitive, responsibility and freedom accompany that path.  (I can already hear a “that’s not fair”, thinking they deserve to be given everything, coming from the back-seat. I’m sure I, more often than not, have the same response.)

Thanks for walking the road with me.


those cute guys are still following us.
Must be stalkers.
Looks like one is mad we got on first.

Please plan to check back on Wednesday to get some great encouragement on raising boys from our friend Kathleen Fischer.  It’s terrific, as always!

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