10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Being a Blessing
I will bless you..., and you will be a blessing. ~Genesis 12:2
When my kids were growing up, they all had chores. Even my sons had chores; autism was no excuse not to share in the responsibility for the family. Besides, as a single mom with five kids, this wasn’t just a matter of character building; it was a matter of necessity. The chores got done, but not always well, and not always with a good attitude.
One day we returned from the grocery store with a carload of groceries. I pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, and began to walk into the house. The kids opened the back of the car and started carrying bags. My daughter called to me, “Aren’t you going to help carry?”
“No,” I replied. “That’s your job.”
“What’s your job?” she retorted.
“My job is to go to work, so that we have money to buy the groceries. Your job is to carry them into the house and put them away.” She snorted her protest but said nothing else as she joined her siblings in the task.
A few days ago, this same daughter took time out of her busy work and parenting schedule to come over to my house on her own initiative and help me clean. She knew that my back was bothering me. When I tried to help, she told me to relax; she would do it all. Even so, I did the light cleaning so that we could get it done more quickly. As we worked, we chatted and enjoyed each other’s company.
When we were done, I surveyed my sparkling house and reflected on the pleasant time we spent together. I thanked her, not only for her assistance, but also for her gracious attitude. She responded matter-of-factly with a smile, “You do so much for me. I’m happy to do something for you.”
And that, of course, meant more to me than all the clean counters and vacuumed floors. She is indeed a blessing.
Life is short, and we have but little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel this way with us. Oh, be swift to love. Make haste to be kind. ~Henri-Frederic Amiel
related posts: Speaking the Blessing; The Kindness Game
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I can so well relate to this, as my kids used to say the same things when they were asked to help. But with time and understanding, and as they grow up - they mature and get better.
Now they do things for us, or when they see both of working they might just fetch the vegetables, lay the table, sometimes even get together and prepare a full meal to surprise us. They are indeed a blessing. :)
Loved the image of the tiny feet within the hands - so apt.
Thanks for sharing. :)
Harleena, I loved that photo, too. Glad you can relate to the kid story--I bet most parents can. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Your daughter is a blessing! How wonderful to be on the receiving end of that blessing, and how wonderful that she thinks of you as a blessing, too. I love the quote at the end. It reminds me to look for ways to be a blessing every day.ReplyDelete
Tina, Our lives are so different when we actively seek to be a blessing to others as we go through our day. My daughter and I used to play the Kindness Game (see related post). It was lots of fun. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Beautiful story, Galen! That's exactly how my daughter and I were when she was a teen; now that she is grown, our relationship is wonderful. Glad you have such a blessing in your daughter!ReplyDelete
Love and blessings, my friend!
Martha, Yes, I bet this is a pretty universal parent story. It was for me with my mother, too. Blessings to you, too. Thanks for commenting.Delete
"I will bless you...and you will be a blessing" made me laugh (inappropriately, I'm sure) because when I read it, I heard it in my head like the threat it could be. "YOU CHILDREN WILL BE A BLESSING COME HELL OR HIGH WATER." Or, at least, that might be how I would deliver it whilst telling my little guys to carry those groceries!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad that your daughter has turned out to be a true blessing for you!
Julie, You found me out! I certainly had that attitude many times when they were growing up! I not only expected them to do the chores, but I also wanted them to have a good attitude about doing them. Ha! Thanks for your comment.Delete
What a sweet blessing she is, and I just know where she learned it from!ReplyDelete
Oh, yeah? Where?! Just kidding. Thanks for your comment, Karen.Delete
I'm right in the middle of that trying to get them all to do chores business, it's exhausting and often easier to do the jobs myself. I do believe though that it is important they learn to take responsability. I often wonder weither they will see my efforts for what they are when they grow up, your post reassured me a little. My first teenager has proved a challenge and a year from now number two hits the teens too, then three and four...help :-)! In respons to batteling a tough teen at home l have done all l can to reassure my mother that l love her and have made a point of telling her that l see she did the very best she could after my father died and that l am proud of her.Love the image of the hands and feet, beautiful. Pam xxReplyDelete
Pam, Hang in there! I had a chore chart on the refrigerator and rotated the names every week. I didn't pay them or reward them, although I did compliment them a lot for a job well done. Chores were how they contributed to the family. The kids took care of most everything in the house, except cooking. And once they were old enough, each child was responsible for dinner one night a week. The good news is that they all know how to take care of themselves now. So some day they will thank you. And how nice that you thank your mom. Thanks for your comment.Delete
What a kind and loving story. That really is a blessing that your daughter feels your pain now and is willing to share your load. It must have been difficult to raise 5 kids by yourself and work at a job outside of the home. But you are now rewarded.ReplyDelete
Manzanita, Yes, it was hard. But it wasn't as hard as it might have been. Because some of my kids came to me as older kids, either through adoption or foster care, I never had five small children at the same time. THAT would have done me in--ha! On the other hand, I did have five teenagers at the same time--yikes! But it all worked out. Thanks for your comment.Delete
What a difference being on the other side of the equation makes! That and a few years, I reckon.ReplyDelete
CW, So true. Those challenging times are a just a memory now. Of course, young adults can present their own challenges, but it's not so intense. And they are great to hang out with! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I love your story. Brought memories of teaching my children to finish their chores. It was often hard because I also believed that chores were not paid work. Even though most of their friends had paid chores.ReplyDelete
I hope your back is feeling better. Have a great day.
Bonnie, I bet you heard some of the same complaints I did about how their friends didn't have to do chores, or if they did, how they got rewarded for them. What's interesting now is that my daughter already is teaching her 18 month old to pick up his toys and to help put things in the trash or recycling. And he loves helping!Delete
My back is feeling better, thanks. And thanks for your comment.
I like the practical and common-sense approach you took to managing the team; your family! And look how beautifully it turned out! It's great that your daughter lives near too! I've got my fingers crossed hoping for that!
Lori, Yes, I'm pleased that all my kids are close by. That might not always be the case, but it is for now. Thanks for the kind words.Delete
Lovely post Galen. And a great quote to end the post. Hope your back is better.ReplyDelete
Suzy, Yes, it is getting better every day. Thanks for commenting.Delete
What a beautiful way you expressed gratitude Galen through telling this personal and beautiful story. It's obvious that you have passed on your attitude of gratitude to your daughter. Thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete
Vrndavana, Thank you for your lovely comment.Delete
What a Beautiful Story you have Shared with us... when those we Love and have Invested ourselves in show their Love in return by their Actions and being a Blessing it is indeed PRICELESS! What a Wonderful way your Daughter Blessed you and made you feel Truly Appreciated. It Mirrors what a Loving Parent and Example you have been, Reflected back in a Child(ren) who were not only Blessed, but have passed it along and paid it forward.ReplyDelete
Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian
Dawn, Thank you for your kind words. I like to think that I modeled this kind of courtesy and love and respect to my children. I am very proud of my kids, and mostly because they are thoughtful and kind. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Your post made me laugh and think at the same time! Thumbs up to insisting that every child helps out in the chores, no matter what health condition he or she has.ReplyDelete
We also insist that my children help with the carrying of groceries from the car. No excuses. They used to be reluctant but now, they come forward to help as if it is something normal.
Evelyn, I was not expected to do chores or contribute to the family when I was growing up. I grew up pretty helpless and had to catch up as an adult. I wanted my kids to be able to take care of themselves, but I also wanted them to have a sense of responsibility and belonging. I hope I achieved that. But yes, there were some funny times! Thanks for commenting.Delete
Love this! There used to be a time when I'd scold my son and have to force him to do things - happily this was a short lived phase and my Mom would keep saying - persistence always brings results. It is all too easy to give in...but I am glad I sat tight. I am reaping the rewards too.ReplyDelete
Blessed indeed. Hugs! Galen!
Vidya, I know from everything you have said that you are a wonderful mother, just as your mother ways. Thank you for your comment.Delete
Hi Galen, Lovely post - know it so well. Keep up the good writing.ReplyDelete
Mel, Thanks for the kind words.Delete
I might add...you are reaping what you have sown. Bless.ReplyDelete
Barbara, A truth I enjoy when what I sowed was good! Wish that were always the case. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Great stuff, Galen! How proud you must be. And what a blessing to spend that kind of easy, quality time with your daughter. I know you cherish it. What I wouldn't give . . .ReplyDelete
One question, though: Will she come to Dallas?
Best to you!
Beth, Ha! I bet she would love a visit and would certainly enjoy meeting you in person, as I would! Thanks for commenting.Delete
It's wonderful to enjoy the ways that adult children give back to us. All those years of patient teaching, those moments of frustration, and the many challenges we faced do pay off in the end. Just as your daughter helped you, my adult son often comes through when some heavy gardening work is required. The blessings keep multiplying as the years pass!ReplyDelete
Jeanette, As my youngest has just reached adulthood, I look forward to the increased blessings! Thanks for your comment.Delete
Aww, I guess you raised them right. Why am I not surprised? :)ReplyDelete
Jennifer, I had my right moments. Thanks for your kind words.Delete
You are a blessing to me - with your wonderful writing and storytelling. Thank youReplyDelete
Patricia, Thank you!Delete
I would love to have a conversation like that with my kids!ReplyDelete
However, there have been some good ones on other topics.
Linda, Those good conversations are a treasure. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Galen - Your posts always ring true to me....this one in particular. Raising 2 teenagers as a single Mom, I never questioned if I was 'good enough', I just did. Believe me, there were plenty of rough times. Now that my children are adults, one married and the other getting married in 2 weeks, the blessings are plentiful. If you lived close to me, I'd grab you for a cup of coffee so we could chat in detail about this subject (and much more!)ReplyDelete
Fran, I would love to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and chat! Maybe we could do a Skype chat sometime. Let me know if you'd like to. Glad you are reaping the blessings with your children now and enjoy the wedding! Thanks for your comment.Delete
Beautiful post, Galen, and a great rejoinder that I look forward to using the next time the kids whine about lugging groceries into the house.ReplyDelete
Stephen, Yes, that was one of the rejoinders I was very glad I could think up on the spot! Feel free to use it! Thanks for your comment.Delete
that is a beautiful scene! You did a great job raising her to respect you and value your relationship!ReplyDelete
Annmarie, Respect was an important value for me. I'm glad it finally "took"! Thanks for your comment.Delete
What a lovely moment; I loved it. I too had my children work and the story sounds somewhat familiar. Adult children can be such a blessings as they grow up and actually see how much their parents sacrificed for them. I loved it when my oldest son left home and one day he said that he wished he had listened more closely to his Dad's lectures.ReplyDelete
LeAnn, I suspect many of us would agree with his sentiment! Thanks for commenting.Delete
That's a touching moment Galen. You surely raised her to be a great person and to be a blessing too, like you to her.ReplyDelete
Patricia, She did turn out pretty well! If I had anything to do with that, then I'm pleased. Thanks for commenting.Delete
That's a beautiful post, thank you for that.ReplyDelete