Happy Thanksgiving from Momma D and the rest of the Noble family. I hope you are taking this time to make some sweet and lasting memories with the ones you call your own. I know I am.
Friday, November 21, 2014
When Elizabeth was a teenager, one of the jobs she had was that of a checker at a local grocery store. Naturally she met all kinds of people as they came through her line. Some were nice, some were not so nice.Shortly before Thanksgiving one year, she had the displeasure of having to deal with one of the not-so-nice customers; a grouchy middle-aged man who not-so-gently dropped a frozen turkey onto Elizabeth’s hand; breaking her finger.
By the time she got home her finger was swollen and every shade of blue and purple you can imagine and was causing her a great deal of pain.Naturally John and I were concerned and upset that someone had purposefully hurt Elizabeth, but it was big brother Zach who was ready to come to his sister’s defense. When Elizabeth revealed the man was a regular customer at the store (and always grouchy), Zach suggested that he and John have a little talk with him about how to treat people—especially Elizabeth. John quickly closed that idea down for obvious reasons, even though it was sweet to see his concern for his sister.
Aw, isn’t that sweet! Isn’t it nice to see a family being so loving and protective of each other?I have a confession to make. My family is NOT perfect. We don’t always treat each other with that kind of love and concern. Sometimes we argue, hurt each other’s feelings, say or do things we would never say or do to our friends and take each other for granted. But when all is said and done we are still family.
We are a family who loves one another and who is there for one another in good times and bad. We laugh at and with each other, we cry together, play together, work together, pray together, eat together, raise children together and know that nothing can ever change the fact that we are forever bound together by blood and love…whether we like it or not. JSo while we are far from perfect, we are what could easily be described as an organism; a bunch of ‘cell’s’ interdependent on one another. Without any one of us we would not be complete. For this I am thankful—especially since so many families today seem more like organizations—groups of people working separately toward the same goal of health, wealth and happiness.
I’d rather be an intricate part of an organism instead of a member of an organization any day. How about you?
Thursday, November 13, 2014
If you spend any time at all around children, you know they can be incredibly sweet and incredibly mean in the time it takes for the heart to beat another beat. They don’t always mean to be mean. Sometimes it just happens. You know what I’m talking about—one toddler takes another toddler’s toy and within seconds you have an all-out toy room brawl on your hands. Or when someone makes fun of your second-grader’s haircut they strike back out of the need to mask their hurt and humiliation.
There comes a time, however, when these outbursts of meanness are no longer reflexes or ‘innocent’ acts of self-preservation. There comes a time when children mistreat others because they want to…because it gives them a sense of power…because they think it is okay to make fun of someone else…because they can. But parents, hear me loud and clear when I say it is NEVER EVER okay for your child to make fun of someone and it is your job as a parent to teach and reinforce this essential life-lesson.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I’m far from being the perfect parent, but this is one of the things I know I got right. All four of my children demonstrated this on numerous occasions, but one of the most vivid recollections of this comes from my son, Zach.
Zach was a runner—both track and cross country. No, Zach was a really good runner. He broke school records and was awarded numerous gold, silver and bronze medals to ‘prove’ his skill. Had they awarded medals for good sportsmanship and teamwork, too, Zach would have earned gold in those ‘events’, too. You see, there was a boy on Zach’s track and cross country teams who was looked at as strange…odd…nerdy…or whatever similar word you would like to insert there. He was the kid no one sat with at lunch, the one who got his books knocked out of his hands and all those ridiculous, mean-spirited high school shows of immaturity. On top of that, this boy consistently finished last. Dead last. But each and every time this boy came across the finish line, he did so with Zach cheering him on; clapping, encouraging and saying, “Way to finish, “Forrest””.
Zach and I never really talked about why he did it, but I knew. He did it because he knew it was the right thing to do. He knew this young man deserved to feel valued and respected for finishing. Yes, he may have always finished last, but he always finished and Zach knew what it took to do so.
Teaching your children to see life through the eyes of others—especially those they see as fodder for ridicule, humiliation, pranks and bullying—is a gift to everyone and a valuable lesson in compassion, honor and integrity.
I’m sure Zach wasn’t always a gold medalist in the way he treated others. In fact, I’m sure his sisters would vouch for thatJ. Hey, no one is perfect. But I am sure he knows it is never okay to be a bully and that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with kindness.
With all the pressure put on kids today to be the best…at the top of the heap…number one…to look ‘just so’ and all the other junk society throws at them, it can be difficult for them to understand that it is NOT okay to mistreat others and that winning at all costs is NOT okay. As a parent, you MUST teach and model behavior that says just the opposite—that treating others the way you want to be treated is what life is really all about.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
If you remember from last week’s post, picking up walnuts each fall was NOT one of my kids’ favorite chores. And that’s putting it mildly. Except for this one time…
Elizabeth’s chickens laid lots of eggs; eggs she sold to a good number of people in our county. Among her egg customers was an old man who lived well below the poverty level and had serious heart disease issues.
I am sad to say that I don’t remember his name—I don’t even know for sure that I ever knew his name. What I do know, however, is that every other week he would knock on our door and politely ask to purchase a dozen eggs; handing me a crumpled dollar and the empty egg carton from his previous visit.
One fall day, however, after asking for his eggs, he asked if I thought we could spare a few walnuts. He quickly went on to say he’d be happy to pick them up himself, but that he’d sure like a few.
Without hesitation I told him he could have all the walnuts he wanted. I told them he could have the sack full I’d picked up earlier in the day leaning against the shed and that if he needed something to put them in I would get him some feed sacks. He thanked me, but said he’d brought a few buckets just in case I said yes. Then after putting his eggs in his car, he went over to the walnut tree nearest the road and started picking them up and putting them into his bucket a few at a time.
A few minutes later the school bus dropped Elizabeth and Olivia off in front of the house and they came running in asking what ‘the egg guy’ was doing out by the walnut tree. When I told them I’d said he could take what he wanted, they both made comments about him being too old and too sick to be doing that and went to put their things away.
A couple of minutes later I looked out the window to find both the girls silently helping ‘the egg guy’ pick up walnuts. With their high-level energy they could pick up several to his one and in no time his buckets were full.
The girls didn’t have to help. They hated picking up walnuts (and still do). But it makes this mom’s heart happy to know that even ‘way back then’ helping someone in need took priority over their own dislikes and displeasures.
My children didn’t learn to put their feelings aside for the sake of others at school or from a cartoon on television or a book on their shelf. They learned to have a servant’s heart from seeing others (their dad and I, Granny and the adults at church who took the time to love them and pay attention to them).
I don’t say that out of pride. I say this because the truth of the matter is that children really do learn what they live. They take their cues from you. So the question is, what are you teaching your children?
Thanks, kids, for being such eager and good students!