Ever since we have committed to adopting Auggie, I have been noticing a pattern. A pattern of complaining about blessings. Whining about privileges. I think we have always done this, I just haven’t noticed quite how much until confronted with the reality of adopting another child. A child in a poverty-ridden country. A child with special needs that isn’t afforded the medical care I so readily take for granted. Auggie is changing the way we look at the world even before his much-anticipated arrival.
I am pretty sure we are raising entitled (fancy word for spoiled) children. I know this because when I reminded the kids to clean up their rooms, the response I got would be what I would expect if I requested that they please saw off their arm with a dull, rusty hacksaw. (as opposed to putting away a few of their strewn-across-the-floor items) I was informed by one wayward child that I was disrupting his “me” time.
I pointed out that “me” time for this mom means hiding in the bathroom for 5 minutes letting my children assume I am having some sort of horrible digestive malfunction and eating my secret chocolate stash…I thought this would get some sort of oh-poor-mom reaction…but the silly child was unaffected. All I got as a response was: God says SHARE. (as in share my hoarded Hershey Bars)
This lovely conversation was followed by stinky attitudes. Followed by crying and whining about putting away the clean towels they use to dry themselves off when they take a hot shower. In our temperature-controlled house. In their designated, separate “boys and girls” bathrooms.
I was annoyed.
After this ridiculous display, I initially felt beastly for taking away from their sit-around-me-time to have them straighten up their rooms…for like 2 seconds. Then I just got grossed out. Clearly, this attitude thing has got to go. And clearly, it is my fault for letting it go on and on this morning…
So, what did I do? I took a trash bag into the rooms piled to the brim with unneeded, unnecessary stuff. I filled the trash bags, loaded up the bus, and we all drove to our local-ish Hospice Store and donated it. The end.
I do realize I have basically well-behaved children. We, in fact, have lovely children. But, they are still children. Driven by wants. Obsessing over what they “NEED!” (like phones, tools, dirt bikes, Nike socks, movies, music, etc.) And just because they say “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir.” And just because they are basically polite does not prove they are not spoiled.
And then reality hit…My children act like they are entitled because I act entitled. I feel I deserve my house, bus, air-conditioning, heating, hot and clean water, cold and clean water. Three meals a day and snacks. Dinner out every-so-often. Coffee. Vacation once every few years. Road trips. At some point I decided to confuse needs and wants, burdens and blessings…
This year, my biggest “problems” have been what school curricula we should order for the kids, how I will squeeze in all of their activities, and choosing a new doctor… No starvation. No terminal illness. Not one. And yet, I can still easily drum-up some sort of complaint.
September 24…Enter Auggie, the boy we hope to adopt. Enter education about how orphans with special needs are treated in Auggie’s country. Enter a burden not just for orphans in the USA but a burden for orphans worldwide. A hurting disgust for injustice. From this new journey pours a deep rooted hatred of my own long-lived, long-fed love of comfort.
I have assigned value to trappings that have no value. I have consumed for the sake of consuming. I have devalued what is precious. I have put my wants ahead of other’s needs. All in the name of comfort. Which is really just self-indulgent entitlement. Gross.
I have made blessings into grotesque representations of their former selves…
I have taught my children to do the same.
Of course my children feel entitled. I started it. Conviction.
So, now that the plank has been properly identified as mine. I will work on the painful extraction. The one I should have done long ago.
I don’t want to be the plank-eyed-person from Matthew that I am right now…I want to be this person:
and what does the LORD require of you
but to seek justice, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
So, it has to change…
No more assigning value to those ridiculous items which hold such temporary, deceitful satisfaction.
No more pretending my life is oh-so-hard because the upstairs heater is broken and the repair man cannot come right now. No more allowing our children to have without understanding there are so many that have not. No more calling my wants needs. No more whining about privileges I enjoy so freely.
Less plank. More justice. More mercy.
I am working on it.