“My room is fine mommy,” said Olivia. “No, it’s a mess sweetheart. Look, there are toys and clothes all over the floor. I can’t even walk over to your bed without stepping on something. Honey, I’m not asking you to do a lot, just put away your toys after you are finished playing with them. It would really help me out if you could do this for me,” explained Mrs. Johnson. “I don’t want to put my toys away”, said Olivia. Picking up her favourite pony she said, “See, I’m playing with Isabelle. I don’t want to put her away now.” Feeling the tension building inside her, Mrs. Johnson silently prayed, “LORD, grant me patience.” Not wanting to have an unprofitable argument just now, she simply replied, “Well, how about we leave this talk to later?” “Okay mommy.” “Actually, I could use some help in kitchen baking some cookies, would you mind giving me a hand?” “Yum, I love cookies. Will you let me lick off the extra chocolate chips?” “You’ve got a deal little one!”
Being someone who thoroughly enjoys baking and cooking, Mrs. Johnson’s only insistence, other than having a private bath in the master bedroom, was a roomy kitchen. In no time at all her island counter was littered with mixing bowls, unwashed baking sheets, dirty utensils, etc. “Now be a good mommy’s helper and clear a spot on the counter for the next batch of cookies,” asked Olivia’s mother. Staring at the mess of dishes on the counter, Olivia replied, “Umm, mommy, I don’t think we have enough room.” “Oh that’s not a problem, just move the old dishes into a pile in the centre, we’ll clean them up sometime later,” answered Mrs. Johnson. “Where mommy, there isn’t any room for it anywhere?” “So what do you think we should do about it?” gently probed her mother. After a moment of trying to work it out in her mind, Olivia hesitantly answered, “Clean up our dishes?” “I think that is a great idea sweetie. So how is this different than keeping your room clean?” asked her mother, gently. “It’s not?” answered Olivia. “You’re pretty smart little one,” said her mom, giving her daughter a kiss on the forehead.
Each of us is frequently faced with the choice of either doing what we want for only ourselves, or choosing to do what is right to help someone else. Olivia didn’t see anything wrong with her room being messy, while her mother, being many years older and wiser, understood her daughter needed a nudge to do what was right.
Copyright © 2019 George Elliott