So, I LOVE summer. It’s my favorite time of year. It’s the only time I get my kids entirely to myself. It’s the only time when I can spend in-depth time with them tackling big projects and teaching them how to work.
Unfortunately those expectations sometimes lead to big disappointment for me when church, work, and social obligations keep encroaching on coveted family time, or when I’m faced with strong evidence my kids don’t want to tackle big projects nor learn how to work.
There’s this thing I heard a while ago that I just loved. (I apologize that I can’t remember where I heard it. It might have been in an LDS General Conference talk. Or at the Segullah blog. Or a different blog. Or maybe in an Ensign article. Feel free to let me know if you recognize it.) A woman was thinking about Matthew 25: 34-40:
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
The woman was feeling bad that she was so swamped caring for her several young children that she rarely had opportunities to perform acts of service like these. But then she realized that she spent most of her time feeding and clothing her children or caring for them when they were sick, and that they certainly counted among the “least of these” the Lord has charged us with caring for.
I loved that insight, and find it comforting that my menial and squalid parenting tasks (did I mention I had to clean pee from the carpet today when one of my little ones made another of my little ones laugh so hard she lost bladder control?) are being done for the Savior if I do them with the right attitude. However, I must admit that today, in thinking about my relationship with my kids, I’ve had a different New Testament scripture come to mind:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
And yes, I’m thinking of myself as the one being persecuted. (Although I’m sure at least one or two of my kids would put themselves in the victim’s role in this scenario.)