I was hanging out with some friends last week after Bible study, and the conversation turned to how frustrated we get with our kids. (I know, that never happens to you.) I shared my mother-in-law's story of the "company smile". One of my friends said "I feel a Titus Twosday blog comin' on"! It's a great story that may help you put your kids' shenanigans in proper perspective. If you've ever tried to clean up your house in a hurry, and your kids ....ehhh... didn't help you with that, you'll relate to the story.
One morning, while at home with her two boys, she received a call from her husband. He would be bringing his boss home for lunch, and could she please have something ready for them? (Let me just stop right here and say Honey, if you ever did that to me, I would have to just go ahead and kill you.) She said "Of course, dear" (this woman is waaayyy nicer than me) and hung up the phone. She frantically glanced at the clock, then at her less-than-tidy house, then at back at the clock. It was 10:35 now, company would be there at noon, that gave her....one hour and twenty-five minutes!?! To clean house, make lunch, and make herself presentable?! She sprang into action, picking up dishes, wiping counters, putting clean dishes away. She moved into the living room, where her two pajama-clad boys were watching cartoons. "Daddy's coming home with company for lunch, and I need you boys to help me tidy up, ok?" " Please turn off the TV, pick up those toys and take them back to your rooms. And make sure you pick up those socks on the floor and take them to the laundry. And when you're done picking up, go get dressed -Frankie, you help Gene- then wash your faces, brush your teeth, and comb your hair. And don't forgot to pick up the bathroom when you're through."
She ran back to the kitchen and quickly made a nice tuna salad, and set the table. After making a pitcher of iced tea, she glanced into the living room to see how the boys were doing. She was mortified to see they hadn't moved from the couch, and were still watching TV. "I TOLD you to pick up those TOYS!" she barked. "We are running out of time, it's after eleven, and I'm really counting on you to help me!" The boys obeyed, taking the toys and the socks to their proper places. Seeing that they were doing their chores, she hurriedly washed her face, changed her clothes, fixed her hair, and put on some lipstick and a dab of perfume.
She returned to the kitchen and made a tossed salad, silently thanking Heaven she had lettuce, tomato, and a cucumber in the refrigerator. She washed some grapes and put them in a bowl on the table. She had make brownies the previous day, that would have to do for dessert, she thought. She looked at the clock-yikes!! Eleven thirty. She quickly made sandwiches with the tuna she had prepared, and glanced into the living room. To her horror, there were the boys, watching TV, still in their pajamas and slippers. "WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU TWO??" she bellowed. "I TOLD YOU TO GET DRESSED AND HERE YOU ARE STILL IN YOUR PAJAMAS!!! HURRY!! GO GET SOME CLOTHES ON, AND DON'T FORGET TO WASH UP AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, COMB YOUR HAIR!!" As the boys hurried off to get dressed, she quickly dusted the living room furniture and sprayed a little air freshener.
Back to the kitchen she hurried, sweeping a few crumbs from the floor and putting the coffee on to brew. Now, just a quick glance at the bathroom before...."WHOSE TOOTHBRUSH IS THIS?? DIDN'T I TELL YOU TO CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES?? DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING MYSELF?!!" she shouted. She hung up a fresh towel and wiped the bathroom sink. "Okay, ten minutes", she thought to herself, but her thoughts were interrupted by the chime of the doorbell. "Now why would he ring the bell?", she wondered as she walked toward the door. She took a deep breath, smoothed her dress, pasted on her best smile, and opened the door. At first, she didn't see anyone, then looked down to see her oldest son standing there. "WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING?!? she snapped at him. "I'm sorry, Mommy", he said. "I just wanted to see your Company Smile."
Can you relate? Do your chores become more important than the people you do them for? I know I need to remember this story the next time I'm running around, getting ready for small group, barking out orders at my kids. I need to just slow down, and give the most important people in the world-my family-my Company Smile.
Today's verse: Parents, don't be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 CEV
Prayer for Today: Father, make me ever-mindful that although you call me to welcome people into my home, You call me first to be Your servant, and to love and nurture the family You've given me. In Jesus name, Amen