Saturday, January 4, 2014

Oh, no you didn't...

Oh, yes I did!

I just became that mom.

The one who made a threat and followed through.

The one who took away nearly every single toy.

The week after Christmas. The day after we returned from our holiday travels. The very day that new toys made their unboxed debut.

We try to teach the boys gratitude and contentment. We do our best to drill into their brains that Christmas isn't about getting. They can tell you the Christmas story. They can tell you that we give because God gave; we love because God first loved us. They willingly give away boxes of toys every year to those in need. They agreed to spend Christmas money to buy animals for poverty-stricken families.

It's all in there. In their little heads.

It became apparent, however, that it was not a lesson that was fully in their little hearts.

Let's face it. It isn't a lesson that is in most of our little hearts. We are often bored with what we already have and look for the next thing to satisfy a deeper longing that we have.

As the great sage of our generation Don Draper once said, "What is happiness? It's a moment before you need more happiness."

The boys were very happy with their Christmas loot. They just thought they might be more happy with just a few more of this and one of those.

So I lost it. I started yelling. And throwing. It wasn't pretty. Not the best parenting moment of my 6-year history.

I left the room, caught my breath, and began to analyze what was happening.

I decided that my reaction was wrong. But not entirely so.

Back in the room, I explained to them that we all spend our lives wanting more. Satisfaction, contentment, and true gratitude are not things that come easily to most people. They had too many choices, too much stuff, distracting them from what is real and true in life. Distracting them from even being grateful for what they had been given.

So I took it.

Calmly, this time.

And boxed it up and took it to the basement.

All of it.

Or...nearly so. I left their books. I left the family games. And I left...the trains and tracks. They would have gone, too, except that the chest that holds the is too heavy for me to move.

In a further act of frustration, I decided that they were also too discontent with the food I put in front of them daily. So now we are eating rice and veggies for 2 of 3 meals every day.

We still struggle. We still have moments when we hope for "more" instead of being grateful for what we have. We still complain.

But I think we are learning. Learning that "contentment" isn't a dirty word that means we have given up on our quest for better. It is a beautiful word that means we can rest in the many blessings in our lives.

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