Sunday, June 22, 2008

Here's to tiny pushes

"I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker."
-Helen Keller-

How often do I throw away opportunities to exercise excellence in the little things, waiting for the really important work to come along? Parenting is one such job where every day is filled to the brim with opportunities to either use many moments intentionally, or to wait for the really important moments to make a difference in our kids lives. We all know, that it's not the big moments that are truly formational; it is the sum total of all of the little moments along the way.

Recently I noticed that Elijah has been asking for things constantly, all day long. It usually sounded something like, "Mommy, when I'm 9 can I get a dirtbike?" And it was happening every time we had a chance to talk about our day. Often the other two would then start in with things they wanted too, and the conversation would progress with wanted things getting bigger and more complex.

So I decided that every time he asked for something, I was going to ask him to tell me something he was thankful for. I told Eric about it and talked to Elijah about it. Eric thought it was a great idea and Elijah said, "sure! I don't ask for things all the time." We've only been exercising this new policy for a few days now, but it has made such a difference in our conversation as a family already.

Having Elijah shift from something he wants to something he's thankful for was simple, and yet it has redirected whole conversations as his brothers often speak up with their own thankful thoughts. Instead of spending our time talking about things we want to have someday, we're spending that time talking about what we're glad about right now. It's nothing deep or profound, not great or noble, but it is a tiny push in a new direction that is already reaping change in all of our hearts.

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Simile Metaphor Collection

Elijah after running: My heart is beating like a coconut rolling down a hill.
Elijah on urination: Pee is like horses galloping out of the gate. Once they get started you just can't stop them.
Elijah: If school were a human I'd give it a wedgie.
Elijah: I am like a hot rod and I just want to be a plain old Ford
Elijah on the fruits of the spirit: I've got them all covered except self-control. Its like a tiny green tomato and the rest are all big ripe ones. Especially love. Its like the biggest tomato we saw in the garden tonight.