"But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
"And behold, some who are last will be first and some who are first will be last."
My sons struggle with the 'me first' mentality. Even if that means they want the other to be 'first' to do something they do not want to do. That is why I called this post selfishness.
I am very selfish. To my great dismay, I have learned this more&more as a mother. Motherhood has given me the choice to choose myself first, or my children first DAILY. I desire to meet their needs, and make their needs a priority in my life. I choose them first, many times above almost everything else that happens in my day.
(I notice that this point can be interpreted two ways: first that to place the children above all else is idolotry. yes, that would for sure be a problem. Second, that the children supersede my husband's needs. yes, that would also be a problem. But my main focus is that I can choose to serve my children and place their needs above my own. Hopefully not to a fault. ;-)
When my sons want a snack, they are quick to say, "ME FIRST!" When it's time to wash up, they are quick to say, "ME FIRST!" When I'm dropping them off at preschool, they are quick to say, "YOU FIRST!" Sometimes I can combat this by giving them their snacks simultaneously, hence no one is first. But most of the time someone has to give up for the other. Today at preschool, we dropped off one & I promised the other he would get to drop off his brother tomorrow. Taking turns is the best way to work through everyone wanting the same thing at the same time.
Sharing (next post?) is amazingly hard. But when you have a 'me first' attitude it is almost impossible. I try to teach my boys that their brother is more important than the toy. Teaching compassion & empathy (oh so many posts) are amazingly important, and not easy at all. CARE FOR YOUR BROTHER and sometimes, that means letting HIM be first.
My boys usually concede in these situations with ease, but they cannot seem to remember the steps to get through the conflict 'me vs. you'. For fighting over who will get out of the bath tub first (yes, that's a real fight): I try to coach them through the rough seas of their emotions. 'Yes, your brother got out first, but you may not throw a fit about it. Take a deep breath. It is ok to feel sad. I'm sorry you're sad." Sometimes it is impossible to let them both be first, like the bath tub scenario. And they have to work through the emotions and have success. "Ok, your turn! You are next! I'm ready to help you now!"
and maybe, I help him with his teeth first. Taking turns helps. 'Faireness' and 'Equity' between children is really important to me. It is impossible to be truly 'fair' but I want to serve my sons & treat them as fairly as I can.
Lord, please teach us how to put each other first. Please use me as a model to show my boys how to serve with your life. Thank you for the time we get to spend together & all the lessons we walk through. Use my imperfect lessons Lord to teach your perfect lessons. Show them yourself Lord; Draw them to yourself. Amen