Rest time is a necessity in our house.
My 1-year-old son needs a nap. It keeps him my snuggly, sweet little guy.
I have work I need to get done…and I need a little me-time to maintain sanity.
Less obvious reasons:
My oldest son is learning to keep himself entertained with independent activities. This is hard for him and requires deliberate practice.
For my 4-year-old son, this is probably his most creative time—he builds and plays and comes up with all sorts of things that have been brewing in his head. (We will call him “L”.)
Last week L called me to his room during “rest time” to show me a Lego creation he had built. I asked him to tell me about it, and he said, “It’s a house for people who don’t have a home from the hurricane.” My heart melted. He proceeded to show me the ramps to the basement, where people would sleep upstairs, even the lights he added. He was “sure it would hold 3 people—no 20 people—but maybe more.” He continued, “I think we should bring it to Texas so the people who lost their houses have someplace to live.”
If I could have frozen a moment that day, this would have been it: his sweet kindness, his compassion for people he’d never met, and his complete and total 4-year-old innocence that helped him believe his lovingly-constructed little Lego house could somehow be the answer.
This moment made me stop and thank God that somehow the message of loving others was getting through. It’s not always clear this is happening in our household. My 4-year-old and 7-year-old have many disagreements about many many many different things. They love each other and love playing together…until they don’t. And then love goes out the window, and it’s every kid for themselves. But moments like these, like the one where a child just spent his entire rest time thinking of others and trying to help them, make me know God is at work in their little hearts.
But this isn’t the end of the story. It would have been tragic if it had been. It's my job to show him how to be the hands of Jesus in everyday life. (To be honest, I have let moments like this slip before, and I’m sad I didn’t help my children take action on what their hearts were telling them.) But this time L and I talked about how wonderful it was that God put this on his heart and what a great idea it was to want to build them a house. A team from our church happens to be going to Houston at the end of the month, so I asked him if there was anything we could send with them to help. That’s all I said, and he immediately said he could give money from his money jar. I asked him what he wanted to give, and he held up his hand—5. He thought $5 was just right, which is a lot for him, but his face said it all: eyes with quiet excitement and a smile that seemed to be holding a great secret. Joy from loving others.
“Each one must give as he as decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:7. God delights in us giving cheerfully! He has designed us to have joy when we love and serve others. When it comes to my kids, I need to help them realize this truth, and this can be done in little teachable moments. I'm so thankful this little Lego moment didn't pass me by, as I know I've let others do. L was ready to love and give to others, not because I wanted him to, but because he wanted to. He knew it was good and right from the joy that welled up deep inside of him! It was God teaching him; I just got to help a little.
So this week we will bring $5 to church…and some bricks. L just came from his room as I’m writing this (it’s bedtime here), and he informed me we should also send bricks to help build the houses. Silly, thoughtful, little man!