When it matters most,
they'll know they can
We put plastic on the windows late last fall to help keep the cold air from seeping through the cracks. It was cheaper than replacing the windows. Wil held the staple gun and scissors, Jenny stretched the plastic and I climbed the ladder.
It was not easy. It was not fun.
And, it was not what they had in mind for a beautiful fall day, but it’s what they did, nonetheless, though not without a good deal of complaining.
“Why do we have to do this?” they asked, and I would have jumped into the story of the little animal who gathered food all summer so he would have something to eat for the winter while the other animals played, except I couldn’t remember if it was an ant or a squirrel that gathered food.
So, instead, when we climbed down from the last window, I asked, “Don’t you feel better for accomplishing this all by ourselves?”
The disgusted looks I got back shouted “no.”
And, that’s okay, because whether it means anything to them now, one day, it will.
One day they’ll find themselves in a situation where they’ll have to choose between sacrificing a little for future rewards or goofing off.
One day it will matter.
They’ll remember climbing a ladder on a fall day; they’ll remember being a little bit warmer that winter than they had been; they’ll remember a job which seemed impossible at first wasn’t nearly so bad once they got started; and they’ll remember the satisfaction of accomplishing something by themselves.
They won’t choose sacrifice over goofing off all the time. I wouldn’t want them to.
But when it matters most, they’ll remember that day.
I asked an older friend once how she raised such fine sons. Though each had faced different situations in life, they were all men of character. “All you can do is teach them right from wrong,” she said, “and trust they’ll come back to that during difficult times in life.”