“I wish the piano had never been invented.”
“I don’t WANT to feed my animals!”
“I didn’t play with those toys. It’s not my fault they’re out.”
“I despise construction!”
“But I don’t want to go…”
There came a day where many of the above statements were thrown at me in a short period of time. I kind of wanted to sit on the couch, throw my hands up and say, “Ya’ll are wearing me out! Forget it! Go do whatever brainless task you would much rather do than the productive tasks I am requiring of you. Go be boundary-less humans without a care in the world!”
Throughout the hours of the evening, gradual understanding came, just quiet thoughts that could be summarized this way: You are not teaching them chores, instruments, homework, and roofing. You are teaching them to complete tasks even when they don’t want to. You are teaching them to master themselves, a life skill of enormous proportion. Get on it.
Pulling up my “I’m the Mama” britches, each child was found and a new response was given:
“I know you don’t like piano; go practice anyway.”
“I get it, but the animals need to be fed. Go do it anyway.”
“Yup, that stinks that your assigned area is a mess. It’s your turn to clean it anyway.”
“I’m feeling it with you. We are all a bit tired of construction. Anyway, up on the roof you go!”
“There are many things I would rather be doing, too, but I’ll meet you in the car anyway.”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell once stated that “the denial of self precedes the full acceptance of Him (Jesus Christ).” He also stated that “this is a quality best developed in loving families”. (Neal A. Maxwell, “Deny Yourselves of All Ungodliness”, Ensign, May 1995)
And as I was taught, it starts with oneself.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)