I have two boys who are 22 months apart. When our older son entered junior high, we noticed that certain words always caused him to laugh, even if what was being said wasn’t funny in the slightest. You can guess that some of those words were the names of certain body parts. However, another word (which I personally don’t use or care for) was the word fart. Whenever he heard the word fart he would laugh as if someone had just told the funniest joke in the world. It was one of those laughs that made you laugh, too, because it made no sense that he was laughing. Well, that went on for about two years. When my son entered high school, we realized that hearing the word fart didn’t elicit the same response in him as it had during those junior high years. I guess when you become a freshman you’re too mature to think the word fart is funny (but not too mature to have a farting contest with your brother, friend, or dad). Anyhow, while we were sitting at the dinner table one day, someone used the word fart, and who should burst out laughing but my other son, who had just entered junior high! It has since become a running joke that for the next two years, we can count on a good belly laugh from at least one member of our family upon hearing the word fart. I’m just praying it’s a male thing and my daughter won’t have the same experience when she gets to junior high.
Ever found yourself ready to pull your hair out if your child asks for something one more time? I sure did! My son was obsessed with candy and gum and asked for it every day of the week. Finally, one day, out of sheer exasperation, I repliled, “No! You may not have any candy today – you can only have candy on Thursdays!” To which my son replied, “okay”. And that was it! End of discussion. End of relentless asking. Not one word about candy or gum until Thursday arrived, when he proudly proclaimed, “Hey mom! It’s Thursday. Can I have a piece of candy today”? Yes! Yes, you may. Thanks for waiting until Thursday to ask. Who knew it could be so simple?
When my children were younger, I often struggled with trying to do it all: be the super wife, the super cook, the super housekeeper, and of course, the super mom. Invariably, I ended each day feeling like I hadn’t been anything but super failure. I could never seem to fit it all in. It was either get nothing done but play with my kids all day, or get nothing done because my kids were pulling on my shirt or needing me for one thing or another every second of the day.
Fortunately, a wise older mom shared some wisdom with me. She said, “you know, if you fill them up first, you’ll always find enough time for the other things to get done”. She went on to explain that when moms spend their time focusing on all the things they have to do, rarely does anything get done because your kids are constantly vying for your attention. I found her wisdom to be profound. I tried her suggestion and discovered that when I took the time to fill my kids up first by spending some quality time with them and focusing on their need for love and attention, they were all too happy to then play by themselves for a bit while I threw in a couple loads of laundry, vacuumed, and tidied up the kitchen.
I’ve also discovered this wisdom applies to my spiritual life as well. I can get so caught up in the things I have to do, it’s easy for me to put spending quiet time alone with the Lord at the bottom of my list as the last thing I do before bed. I’m sure you can relate that at the end of a busy day, sitting quietly reading and praying isn’t very productive when my body just wants to sleep once I finally sit down. And, just like when my kids were younger, as I reflect back on my day, I still hadn’t accomplished everything that needed to be done. However, if I take my own advice and remember to put first things first, that is, fill myself up first with the Lord and make him my first priority, He then helps me to prioritize the rest of my day and focus on those things which are truly important and need to be done. I am then able to end the day feeling accomplished and satisfied.
Try filling them up first, and see if you, too, end up being filled as well.
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