Getting the children ready in the mornings can be an ordeal. More than once I find myself repeatedly telling Kieran to get his clothes on and reminding him that I expect him to listen the first time. Whenever I say that, though, it strikes me that it is rare for me to listen the first time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think listening the first time is a laudable goal, though I do try to impress upon the children that they are free to question why I’m saying what I am. I do not want blind obedience, really, though I do want them to listen.
However, I also know that I do not listen the first time. If someone asks me to do something, I don’t always drop everything and do it right then. Sometimes doing so isn’t possible, other times I simply don’t wish to do it right then. Even worse is if my children ask something of me and I could comply at that moment, and don’t. How can I teach my children to listen, truly listen, and act in a timely manner if I do not do that?
So, should I just abandon the ideal since I’m not following it? Hardly. Instead, I should pray for the grace I need to follow the ideal myself to the best of my ability, thus setting an example for them that they can follow. I know they won’t get it right away, and that’s fine. It is something that takes a lifetime to truly learn, I think, for selflessness does not come easily. And really, isn’t that what it is? Learning to set aside ourselves for what another is asking? I’ve a long way to go, I know that much.