July 10, 2012
That was certainly the case in our house today. It’s Tuesday, milk run day. Friends of the family run a small creamery about 10 miles from our home and we make the drive every week to buy our milk supplies. Often we are running behind schedule because the children are dragging their feet getting the morning chores done. Today was no different with one exception. The two girls were doing everything but what they were supposed to be doing; and, our son was picking up the slack. He was busily doing his chores, helping Mommy with odds and ends, and doing everything the girls were supposed to be doing. My little man was on a roll! Not only did we get everything we had to do done, working as a team we were able to get a jump start on the afternoon chores too. Big smiley faces for my boy. :-)
As a reward for all his extra work I told him he could pick out anything he wanted at Apple Valley and keep it all for himself. He was so excited. I thought I might be shooting myself in the foot so to speak by fostering a selfish, gloating spirit. But it was a risk I was willing to take because he needed to be rewarded for all his hard work. Of course there were thank yous and high fives and hugs galore but he was so exceptional today I just had to step up the positive reinforcement. The drive to the creamery was uneventful. There was no gloating, no bragging, in fact no mention of the reward at all. Maybe my fears would be unfounded. We got to the creamery and the kids ran off to play on the motorized John Deere tractor like they always do. I got our milk; a handful of organic, raspberry, fig bars and was ready to check out. The man brings me bag of gummy worms. We check out and get everyone and everything loaded back into the van. That is when the gummies get noticed!
From the third row seat I hear “What’s that ‘siah?” Nonchalantly my boy replies “Gummy worms, I got them as a reward for working so hard today.” Insert gummy in mouth…now. “Can I have one?” Uh Oh, here it comes. The gloating, the selfishness, everything I feared might happen. Brace for it….here it comes….”Sure.”
What? Did that exchange really just happen? Not only did he go the extra mile this morning, he did not use the opportunity to make his sisters feel badly about it. Now I feel like I need to run right back in the store and buy another bag of gummies. But I didn’t. When we got home I put the girls to bed for naps and called my son over to the couch. I told him how proud I was of him and the way he handled himself and the whole gummy situation. I reminded him that the gummies were his reward for working so hard and that he did not have to share them with his sisters. Then I praised him for sharing his reward and thinking about his sisters.
Banner day for the little man!
But to do good and to share forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. – Hebrews 13:16