Monday, August 23, 2010

Character building 101

So a new school year is upon us. Been thinking a lot about how I can make this year less stressful for us as a family. Seven kids in school is busy. I can't change that. But it has occurred to me that I'm really the one that gets stressed around here. (sigh) Well, there is the issue of wrinkles in Daughter's (#6) socks. But that's another post for another day.

I've narrowed it down to a few key areas that I need to improve in. Wouldn't hurt to lower my blood-pressure a bit in the process.

1. By FAR the most annoying thing to me is the pick-up lanes at my children's school. (deep breath) However, I am going to remember that 5-10-15 minutes either way is not going to change much of anything. I am not going to roll down the window and shout "Don't park in the pull-through lane - that's what the parking lot is for!" Nor am I going to speed around cars that park, get out, shut the door, walk slowly across the pick-up lanes to the lines of children, retrieve their one child, and walk slowly back to their car, open their trunk, take 5 minutes to stow back pack of the one child, open the child's door, buckle the child in, and visit with a friend for 10 minutes before pulling forward - all while the line of cars is backing up into the street. Never mind that you aren't supposed to exit your vehicle in the pick-up lanes. And never mind that my 5 elementary children can load in WITH their stuff and buckle up in about 7 seconds flat.

(is it hot in here?)

2. Wal-mart check out lanes. This is something I've been working on for awhile, already. I even told someone the other day, "You may not want to get behind me in this line. I have a way of picking the slowest checker in the whole store." I've started letting people go ahead of me if they only have a couple of items. Makes them SO happy after they've seen my cart. Not sure why. And while I'm at it, when I do have to run in for just a few things? I resolve not to glare at the person in front of me with 40 items in the speedy check-out 20 item lane. Once again, what is 5-10-15 minutes here or there? Or in Wal-mart's case - what is another hour?

3. Those phone calls 30 minutes after dinner is cold to tell me that the Coach is going to be late. Last year it occurred to me that I had two choices. Be ugly, or be nice (wish I could say that I always choose nice). So now we eat at 6. If the Coach isn't here, he isn't here (and he often isn't). He's said he doesn't mind a bit if we get started without him (much later than six and bedtime won't happen at a reasonable hour) and when he calls? I be nice (as Little Man would say). He comes home happy, I'm still speaking to him, and he jumps right into the chaos. Just reminding myself of this resolve now that football season has started.

4. People driving 50 in the left lane. I drive a 12 passenger van. And it's usually full. And if you've ridden with me home from school with my eight and various other children - all talking loudly about their day, eating candy that they got for good behavior, holding extra large projects that were sent home and snack baskets for the next week's snacks. . . well, it's quite an adventure. After my pick-up lane experiences, I'm not usually wanting to prolong the process any longer. So if you are driving 50 in the left lane, I promise not to swerve around you while giving you a dirty look and telling my kids that some people are idiots. I might think it, but I promise not to say it out loud (baby steps).

I'm going to have to stop, now. Not that I couldn't go on. I mean, really, what mom of eight kids has this LITTLE amount of patience? People say all of the time, "Eight kids? You must be SOOOO patient!" I laugh. And then tell them that the Lord gave me eight because I'm NOT patient - but I sure hope to be when it's all said and done.

Yes, I'm usually in a hurry. Late. Tired. Busy. Overwhelmed. But it doesn't exempt me from showing the love of Christ to others. From forgiving. Being long-suffering.

So grateful that the fruit of the Spirit is just that - OF the Spirit. I don't have it in me. But now that I've bared my soul to you and confessed (a few of) my weaknesses, I hope I'll think before I respond and ask the Lord to give me His grace.

I'll let you know how it goes.


jo said...

Fruits OF the Spirit. Now, that's a good one. I'll remind my kids of that today when they're looking at me like I'm a terrorist. I'll just smile and say- i'm still working on it. Funny post girl. And I"m sure if there is anyone who can streamline getting 7back and forth to school - it will be you. I'll look forward to hearing all about it.
As for me, we ran out of milk, oj and bread all in the same morning.

Shauna said...

I am so encouraged about their focus on the fruit of the spirit this year!
And I'm looking forward to meeting you for coffee, lunch and the occasional omniplex play date!!

Daisy Girl said...

Oh friend! rough day? :) this is one of those posts that is actually quite funny when you aren't in the situation yourself. :) I've SO been there in several of those situations, with only half the kids of course and STILL had the same response, so like Beth Moore says, God uses people and circumstances to bring the worst out in us so He can get the worst out of us. Or something like that. Love ya! Have a joy filled day today!

Anonymous said...

Goodness, your post made me cry! I have been struggling big time this last week with circunstances I cannot change. Also trying to study for a ladies retreat in September and was impressed to talk about Psalm 15- NEVER be shaken and the Red Sea Rules- will I ever get past one and two- accepting I am just where God wants me and wanting Him to get the glory in my situations? Love it that I am not the only one who struggles in the world of motherhood and children- thanks for posting!

Zimms Zoo said...

hmm.... do you come stay at my house for the day and then write a post about us? hehe

great things to remember. especially the one about the phone call and 2 choices because i, um, i, well i won't say what i usually choose.