Monday, April 10, 2017

The Best Present


I remember back when my brothers and I were kids and we would ask our mom what she wanted for her birthday or for Christmas or Mother's Day.  The answer seemed to always be the same.

"I don't want anything.  I just want you to be good."

Really?  How very boring.  Wouldn't candy, flowers, a new outfit, a book...anything...be more exciting than our just being good?

Most kids have heard that answer from their parents and none of them understand it...until they become parents themselves.

Last week was my birthday.  My kids didn't ask me what I wanted.  They didn't have to as I had already told them.  In fact, I showed them.  It was exactly what I had gotten for my mom's birthday, which is a week before mine.

No, it wasn't good behavior.

It was a book lover's journal - a great journal where you can record the title & author of the books you've read, the characters & plot, date you read it, who you loaned it to, etc.  I got it for my mom as she loves books, just like I love books.  I figured it would be a good strategy to show it to the kids before I wrapped it up and gave it to her. It was exactly what I had been looking for the last few years.  I told my kids where I bought the book and for how much.  I gave them other on-line options where I am sure they could buy it, as well.

I have no shame.

My birthday came.  My birthday went.   I didn't get the book.  

You know what I got?

Good behavior.

The week of my birthday, I watched and listened to one of my daughters participate in an incredible piano/violin trio in church.  She, along with her friends, played flawlessly and with a smile on her face all for the glory of God.

I watched another daughter help with the organization of a bake auction we had during our missions conference.  She was collecting numbers, straightening things up and working with a constant smile on her face.  She was in her element helping others and serving the Lord.

I watched yet another daughter handle a difficult situation involving a peer with more grace than I could ever have dreamed to possess at that age.  When others would have cried or become angry in the same situation (which, to be honest, I felt like doing just watching it), she chose to be like Jesus and look beyond her own feelings into the needs of another.

I listened as my oldest son opened up about something on his heart.  Instead of clamming up like so many 19 year olds, he let me into his life.  We talked.  I listened to him and he listened to me.  We hugged.

My 13 year old was sick and needed to stay home from church.  He left a note for his little brother knowing he would be asleep when the younger one got home.  That little brother and my youngest daughter bid on items in an auction earlier that night where all the money went to missions.  What fun they had and how happy they were to be able to have even a small part in helping missionaries spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Last week, I received the very best birthday present.  I received a present more valuable than any book, journal, or piece of jewelry.  I received a present I did not deserve.  I received a present that I will cherish always.

Each one of my children did good.

And I didn't even have to ask.

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