The first of January before kindergarten resumed, I invited a playmate over for my 6 year old grand niece. Upon Mac’s arrival, North Hope gave a narrated tour of my home. For the next hour-and-a-half, they shared a couple of their favorite toys, wrote their names and drew pictures with chalk on my driveway, played indoor croquet then, took turns hobbling around using the mallets as cruthes. They stopped for a snack and, afterwards, went their separate ways—one on his Leapfrog, the other on her Kindle.
While the grandmother and I were talking, I overheard an unkind tone in my grand niece’s voice. Her guest had asked if he could play the ‘Angry Birds’ game on her Kindle. She angrily said, “No! I’m watching Rapunzel.”
After her 3 interruptions of “but” while I tried to explain sharing, I said, “North, your ‘buts’ are excuses. Listen with your ears and your heart. Mac is about to leave. Put your movie on pause and let him play the game for a minute. You can finish watching it after he leaves.”
She countered, “But, my heart doesn’t want to.”
That’s not what I wanted to hear, but it’s all I needed to hear: A heart speaking its truth.
To North, I said: “Sometimes, the result of getting what we want right now is harder on us than the temporary sacrifice.”
And to Mac: “I’m sorry, Mac. It’s her Kindle, and she has chosen not to share.”
As he left, he spied a baby lizard in my rock garden and ran in to ask North if she wanted to see it. Offense forgotten, they excitedly ran out together to share nature.
I am a firm believer in allowing everyone, especially children, the choice to do what their heart dictates. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not propounding to follow your own will as did Freud and Watson, and I’m not trying to be Dr. Spock or even PC, unless it’s polite consideration—simple decency—compounded with cooperation.
As children, if we’re not taught to be considerate of another’s person, feelings, and property, and how to cooperate in action and deed, as adults we’ll be irritable, hateful rascals to live with; much worse to care for with a SCI or some other life interruption.
How often do we do things our heart doesn’t want to do and are riddled with resentments thereafter? The service rendered is half-hearted (usually with tangible attitude), and the recipient senses the inconvenience. No one is blessed. Everyone suffers!
Whether you’re disabled or able-bodied, do what you do—profession, family responsibilities, errands, exercise, church, charity, or care-giving—because it’s in your heart to do it; not because someone expects, requests, requires, or needs it.
If you find yourself murmuring about any of the above or accusing someone else for your unhappiness or their lack of appreciating you, you may want to re-evaluate your expectations, intentions, and motivations for doing whatever you’ve enlisted for or agreed to do.
In this case, martyrdom is self-inflicted. It will never meet an expectation of appreciation, an intention to gain attention, favor, and praise or a motivation for approbation.
Contentment and peace come from a heart given to what it gives and does, freely; not from a heart riddled with holes from the worm of resentment.