First plant your fields; then build your barn. Proverbs 24:27, MSG
There’s this thing with parenting called “delayed gratification.” It’s not only a great concept. It works. Very well, I might add. (Not that we adults have it figured out. . .)
Anyway, we have a certain child who was given a certain birthday gift this past week who is ALL ABOUT his certain gift. Which is great. He’s really thankful and has expressed his never-ending gratefulness for such an amazing birthday. Enter delayed gratification.
Now I don’t always relate my afore-mentioned concept of parenting to a birthday gift, but for my point today it will suffice. You see, even when we are blessed with something, it doesn’t mean that the normal, every day, basic groundwork stuff ceases to go forward.
See, each day presents it’s own challenges, but most importantly, it presents the mundane, gray and boring concrete blocks of sameness called work. With this cool gift in my child’s brain every morning for the past two weeks, he has literally flown through his obligations, even without the occasional prodding from Mom.
Yes, with or without the motivation of the occasional birthday, I want to instill in our child’s heart that we work, then we play. The basics, then beyond basics.
And of course, the lesson goes deeper while I’m getting it across to a four foot tall human who seems to “need” so much help. It sinks deeply into my conscience and wiggles around, uncomfortably, waiting for my acknowledgment and even, repentance. I’m guilty of going out to “build my barn,” make grandiose plans, reward myself somehow, when there are seeds to sow and dirt to dig. I get the cart before the horse and then have the nerve to feel sorry for myself! What? No, this parenting gig ain’t for the faint of heart. Half the time it isn’t even for the “children.” Right?
Lord, help me do first things first. May the reward of true diligence keep me about Your business and the real nitty-gritty priorities. And regardless of who “Jack” is, may I know that work, THEN play, will mold me into the “me” I need to be!