Today’s Table Talk is by my new friend Courtney DeFeo. She has a heart for sharing the love and encouragement found in Scriptural truths – which she does by tapping her crazy great creative giftedness. I hope you will check out her blog … and that we will all be inspired to get our eyes off ourselves and to spend a little more time giving rather than getting.
Thanks, Courtney … and thanks for walking the road with me.
photo from The Giving Tree by Shel Silversteen
I think I screamed “YES!” or did a dramatic, dorky fist pump the first time I saw the cover of Kay’s book. This is a huge issue in our home and a common issue among all of the moms in my town. In fact, I was just ranting with a group of moms over this recently.
“Why do my kids think they are getting something everywhere we go?”
“Why do they think the world is completely centered around them?”
“Why are they so dumbfounded at the word NO?”
The answers quickly point back to me as a mom and a pattern of little things I have allowed. However, the solution in my mind (as Kay beautifully illustrates in the book) is doable!
I believe we can make many little choices and changes that help them see the world is in fact about OTHERS not about ME.
I am most passionate about my girls EXPERIENCING the good in putting others first. The JOY of putting others before yourself. We can talk about it all day and memorize scripture, but is that enough? In fact, I own a company that sells Scripture Cards and I truly believe that is critical. My 5-year-old can spout out all 26 of them and it gives us terrific moment of discussion and a common language.
However, that can’t be the only thing we do. Experiencing kindness and generosity roots a lesson deep in the heart. It makes a memory and sets up one wonderful teaching environment.
This can take so many forms. One day, we packed an extra lunch on the way to school and prayed for someone that might be hungry on the way. And sure enough, we did find one sweet man that was delighted to enjoy our extra lunch. Oh, those discussions were eye opening to their little minds. “Mom, people really don’t have places to sleep? And they don’t have lunch?”
Last year, the moms following my blog and facebook page joined together for a program called Light ‘Em Up.
The purpose was to focus our families on “GIVING” vs “GETTING” during the month of December – doing random acts of kindness all month long as a family. My girls were giddy! It was an adventure every day to see where we could take our treats and light up another person’s heart.
We also have an encouragement box in our toy closet for a rainy day. It just has note cards and envelopes. We try to think of someone that might need to hear from them or need a sweet note. I love to watch their little brains process and hearts express who needs their love.
Sometimes, I’ll do a carpool challenge before they get out of the car. “Girls, please try to find one person today that is lonely or sad at school and ask them to play with you!” I am always amazed it’s the first thing they want to tell me when they jump in the car.
Now, before you toss your coffee at my screen. I’m a real mom and my kids are real too. We had a stage-5 screaming tantrum at Target just last week over Play Doh with my 5-YEAR-OLD! What? Shouldn’t we be done with that by now? It was horrific. Rows of people staring and rolling eyes, but she wasn’t getting a “YES” again. I’ve said “yes” far too long because we can.
One more shameful confession that I can’t believe I’m typing. I let a crying, sobbing child talk me into an American Girl doll “early” so she got it for “Back-to-School” instead of her October birthday. Most people get a lollipop and my child got a million dollar doll. Yes, can now see I’m a loser. That is just nonsense and I should be locked away in some mom jail overnight.
They still fight daily over something that is “MINE” and they wake up daily thinking about themselves. So, we aren’t little cherubs with perfect lives. We are a normal family fighting against a culture and a society that says “YOU ARE #1!” and “LOOK OUT FOR YOUSELF!”
We believe that keeping our kids centered on some timeless truths and loving others will serve them well.
It isn’t easy but it is worth it.
I believe you are a great mom and we are in this together. Let’s have the courage to say “NO” more often and teach them the thrill of loving and serving others.
Courtney DeFeo is the fun mom who believes our kids can light up the world. She is the author of popular mom blog LilLightOmine.com, which seeks to “empower moms and change little lives through innovation in the home.” She is also the creator of ABC Scripture Cards and My Lil Money Jars. Through Lil Light O’ Mine, she is passionately pouring out her gifts of encouragement and innovation on moms all over the country. She is the proud wife of a servant-spirited dad and mom to two funny little girls, ages 3 and 5.