One of the things I love about parenting three teenagers is watching their individual strengths develop. The down side of this is that there often comes a false sense of pride in personal preferences during this season. I am reminded again during this phase of life that it’s important for me to stress the importance of family and teamwork.
One of our recent activities was to make a Family Soup. I confess that this was an executive decision on my part, and not necessarily met with any great level of excitement on the parts of my three children. My goal was to tangibly remind the kids that we each have something to offer, and that we can all benefit when we work together as a team. It’s kind of like the Body of Christ. Think of the drawbacks of going though life without an ear or a thumb or a kneecap. We all lend something specific to Christ’s Church, and we are each called to share what we’ve been given to do our part. Family is the same way. For our household to run smoothly, effectively and peacefully, we each have a role to fill. This is something our household has struggled with as of late, and something I hoped our Family Soup activity would illustrate.
The kids were given instructions to add whatever they wanted to our soup with the full knowledge that all of us would be enjoying it (or not) for supper that night. I encouraged them each to participate with their best effort. I did not hound, nag or plead. I just explained my hope, made my contributions and let them have at it.
Without going into too many incriminating details, let’s just say that not everyone gave their best. The soup was fine–edible, certainly. It was good enough to get by, but there wasn’t much to it. Frankly, it lacked substance. Since not everyone participated, the ingredients were minimal. Those who did participate felt the pressure of making up for those who did not. Those who did not participate felt strangely justified that the others could do it on their own, affording them the luxury of not sharing in the responsibility.
Honestly, I had hoped for a different outcome.
As I look around at our society, and even in the Church, I wonder why so many folks feel entitled to being carried along by the investment of other people’s resources. Why are so many of us comfortable with being the beneficiaries of other people’s time, talents and money while we hoard our own precious gifts for personal use? We are a selfish, ungrateful lot.
I’ve had some time to mull over the results of last week’s Family Soup activity. I’ve given praise to some and I’ve shared my disappointment with others. Another opportunity is on the menu for this weekend. I’ve noticed the eye rolls and the scowls from some and the slumped shoulder from others. Am I doing the right thing? I don’t know. Maybe I’m beating a dead horse; maybe I’m offering the chance for redemption. Either way, we’re going to give it another go. For this round, I’m adding a healthy dose of prayer for humility and grace.