Well, I did it. I never thought I would take it to such a ridiculous extreme, but I did. It all came to a head yesterday morning as we were ordering our day.
We’d enjoyed several lazy Christmas days of movies, games, puppy snuggles and snacking. It was time to start pulling ourselves out of the holiday hole. After all, school starts back next week. So, I shared my list of things to accomplish with the kids. The effects were immediate. Shoulders slumped. Facial features sagged. Truth be told, there were even some eyes rolled.
I decided to nip it in the bud.
“Come on, Team Hill!” I encouraged. “It won’t even take us a couple of hours to do our tidying up and get our showers. We could be easily done in a couple of hours and have the entire afternoon to relax.”
Grrr. Whine. Mumble, grumble.
Some of my crew was having none of it.
This is where I wanted to roll my eyes and say, “Are you kidding me?! You’ve had the better part of a week to lay around and gelatinize your brains and you’re complaining that it’s time to put away Christmas decorations? You really think you should be able to take over entire couches with your bedding…indefinitely? Overflowing trash cans seem like a good idea to you? None of you are bothered by the continual crumb-fest on our kitchen counters?!”
But I didn’t. Instead, I actually said, “I don’t want to do it, either, but I want it done. Let’s work together. There’s a hokey old saying that there is no “I” in TEAM, and it’s true”.
The kids stared at me. Two of them slowly got up and started moving. One of them stared at me in a lovely post-holiday challenge, “You can’t force teamwork, ” they remarked.
I stared back, a smile tugging at my lips. “You’re absolutely right,” I replied. “However, Daddy and I can make the consequences for your lack of participation so uncomfortable that you are better motivated to step up and do your part.”
Returning the stare in this precious face, I smiled, then turned away and grabbed my duster.
I remember doing some pretty cheesy team activities for various organizations and businesses when I was younger. To be honest, they always seemed, at best, ridiculously corny and, at worst, incredibly awkward. I dreaded team-building days. There was always this consistent theme of “There is no I in TEAM!,” and I guess I learned to associate that sentiment with much of what I found to be corny and awkward.
We got our chores done yesterday in record time with mostly good attitudes. At least the bad attitudes were silent and choosing not to spread their cruddiness. This in itself is a victory. I learned a long time ago that, as the momma, my attitude pretty much set the tone for the day. If I was snappy and impatient, I could almost guarantee that my children and my husband would quickly grab that torch and run with it. If I was pleasant and kind, that would often stick, too. Our attitudes are powerful things. As a high school student, I once heard a preacher ask his congregation, “When you get bumped, what spills out?” I remember that expression to this day. I really don’t want to spill my yuck on the people I love.
So, we’re doing another team-building activity today. I’m not telling you what it is, but I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ll tell you this much: I covet your prayers. This whole shaping-the-character-of-future-generations-even-when-they-act-like-entitled-teenagers is a challenge for me. So, if you think of me today, or tomorrow, or three months from now, please whisper a prayer on my behalf for wisdom, strength, courage, patience and joy. I need God’s perfect help to balance out this imperfect momma. I am so thankful that He, Dave and I are a team in this journey.