Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Conversation With the 17-Year-Old Boy About Service

After a very hectic evening, John being out of town, I noticed that the 17-year-old boy, of his own accord, having donned his black jacket and beanie, was taking the rolling wood carrier outside and bringing it back, filled with wood, to fill up all the fireplace wood holders. We heat our home with 4 wood-burning stoves..


....so this is no small task. The fact that he did this was remarkable, because every other night, I usually ask one teenager to each bring in a load of wood, and I bring in one myself. No matter how cold it is outside, no one EVER does it on their own, without my prompting. Sometimes I would just like to see how long they would go before they got cold enough to bring in wood without being asked. I don't perform this experiment, however, because of the 3 little ones who spend most of their time close to the floor, where it's colder.

And not only did the 17-year-old boy bring in four loads of wood, he made fires in each of the fireplaces, again, without being asked. I was so exceedingly grateful for these gestures, these acts of willing service, that I decided to do the two sink-fulls of dishes which were waiting for him, as is his chore every evening for the month of January. Lest you wonder what the other kids do to help in the kitchen, here is the breakdown...

The 14-year-old girl: counters and lower island
The 13-year-old boy: dinner helper and dishwasher unloader
The 9-year-old boy: pick up everything off the floor and straighten up the couch area we recently set up in the kitchen
The 7-year-old girl: wipe down the high chairs and clean the top part of the island
The 3-year-old boy: pick up ten things on the kitchen floor
The 39-year-old mom: sweep

As I was nearly finished with the dishes, I turned my head back towards him where he was stoking a fireplace and said...

Me: 17-year-old boy, because I am so very grateful for the fact that you got all this wood and made all these fires without me having to ask you, I have done your dishes for you.

17-year-old boy: Yeah, I so knew you would do that. I totally read you like a book.

Me: Oh, so you knew I would do your dishes and you figured that you would rather do the wood then the dishes, huh?

17-year-old boy: Yep, pretty much.

Me: Well, what if I hadn't decided to do your dishes? Then you would have just had to enjoy the blessings from above for your work of service.

17-year-old boy: Yeah, so I win either way.


Oh....My.....Gosh. Is one of my kids actually internalizing what it means to serve? This was honestly a momentous occasion, and that is why I am sharing it with you today. Thanks for listening. :)

17 comments:

Lolidots said...

That is so awesome! Can I come live with you? Awesome flooring AND awesome kids! Win/win! ;-)

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thanks, Lolidots! Yes, you can come live with me, and long as you like to sweep! :D

alessandra said...

Hahaha, this is great!
Thanks for the big laugh!

Momza said...

Well, Mom, you are doing something very right! I could just hug that boy of yours!!

TexasHeather said...

Hi! Thanks for the comment on my blog - always nice to meet another Les Mis fan : )

Love that your boy is learning service, at heart. What a gift!

Cheryl B. said...

He took a gamble and won ;-} From his perspective, hauling all of those loads of wood and restarting fires is w-a-y better than doing dishes!!! And he knows that since you feel much better about everything, if when you go to bed at night, your kitchen is completely cleaned, he gambled that you would do them - and he was right :-}

The 17 year old boy showed maturity in three levels here -
1 - because he KNEW that he might still be stuck doing the dishes anyways, and was willing to take that chance. And while he might not have been to happy doing them, he would have done them never the less. Maturity!

2 - He is fully aware of both earthly and heavenly rewards. Maturity!

3 - He pays attention to you enough to figure out which of his actions would be the most appreciated by you. Maturity!! His future wife will benefit greatly from this atribute!

Melinda said...

I think this is awesome. It is times like these we realize how thankful we are for our kids. I find myself doing the same thing and I am so proud when the kids serve on their own!

~Amy~ said...

That is really neat. I have been trying to teach my 8 and 7 year old to do chores on a regular basis, without my prompting them.

Connie said...

I love that! What a great kid. I loved having teenage boys...and some didn't understand :)

Connie said...

To Clarify...some people didn't understand my love of teens.

thorney said...

This is the best! Is you son thinking about doing a mission? I know he has a few years left to decide.

Pam, mom, honey, said...

i love that, you are getting to his heart. God is working in him. Keep up the good work mom and make sure to tell dad what he did

Tammy (Mom to this crazy bunch) said...

17 year old boy... I am so impressed with you!

restrainedchaos said...

Don't you just love it when your kids actually learn what you've been trying to pound into their head over the years? Just all at once it clicks and Wow. Great job!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Hi Thorney! You asked about my son serving a mission. Yes, he is getting prepared for his mission right now. He is eligible to leave in June, but I'm not sure if he is going to decide to do that or to wait until the end of the summer. I'm so excited to find out where he will be sent!

Christine:) said...

Love your chore list for the kids...and you have one intelligent teen on your hands:) Great story- thanks for sharing!

Bethany Cox said...

he's awesome. by the way i checked out your "mega family" blog.i like our little family on top. i'm not that short am I?