Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Generosity Backfired, or Why Did They Learn What I Was Teaching?

It's always been a goal to have our children be service-minded, good workers, and generous.  We've followed what those smarter than us have said works to do that - be involved together on service projects, take them to deliver meals and treats (Melanie is excellent at making cinnamon rolls, as several ward members would testify), and just generally be on the watch for opportunities to do good and do it.

Well guess what.  They learned it.

A few weeks ago Adam went to a dance and ended up giving 5 people rides home.  Two lived within about 5 minutes of the dance, two were about 15 minutes away, and one was about 20 minutes away.  Mom and Dad didn't feel quite so generous when we discovered the closest to the dance went home first, the closest to home went second, and the furthest away last, which put them more like 30 minutes away.  In an awesome parenting gesture, I asked him why he didn't stop in to say hi on his way past.  Yes me, the one that should be encouraging good, kind, generous behavior.  Yes, he got home late, past Holy Ghost bedtime late. And he heard he needs to plan better if that's going to happen again.

But I realized later that I should be happy he's willing to be helpful, because really that's what was at the heart of it all.

Yet when another child showed similar lessons learned (that's three sentences in a row I've started with a conjunction), I was again similarly irritated.  I got a text yesterday saying the Beehives were taking dinner in to a family for their activity, and reminding Melanie that she offered to bring soup.  I was grateful for the notice since I hadn't heard, but the immediate thought that ran through was, Really?  Nothing cheaper/easier?  At least this time it all stayed in my head (until now), though I did mention that I'm glad her leader let me know so I didn't hear about it a half hour before it needed to be done.  She did a great job today making it all by herself.  Sheesh, if she can rock cinnamon rolls, of course she can throw some soup together!

Trying to repent a little, sending this out so that when someone else's child learns the great lessons you want them to, maybe you'll remember better than I have to take note, enjoy, encourage, and be grateful.