Friday, February 1, 2013

A Helping Hand, Not A Handout

Today I have a dear friend Amy, who is going to share with you about her experience babysitting my children. She has also started a great new blog that is well worth the read. You don't find a whole lot of people in the world that are as sweet and genuinely caring like she is. Enjoy!

"A HELPING HAND. NOT A HANDOUT."

This week I had a somewhat rare but glorious opportunity...to babysit 7 of the sweetest, cutest, and craziest kids I know... the "Z-kids"!

My friends were celebrating their Anniversary (13 years!) and God gave me the opportunity to lend a helping hand on their special day. I decided to host the kids at our house and serve a delicious crock-pot spaghetti dinner (yum!). Upon their arrival I proceeded to (try to) entertain these little characters with "paper plate and bean tambourines" (a craft I quickly threw together), with the traditional crayons, stamps, and stickers. 

After completing our musical project and thoroughly annoying each other with our maraca-like-tambourines, we moved on to other things... like FOOD!  Three apples, a crock-pot full of spaghetti, a bag of carrots, multiple glasses of juice, 8 croissants, and several burps later we were done.

By this time, my wonderful husband had come home from work and joined the rowdy banshee in conversation, pillow fighting, and (soon to come) NERF warfare!  Books, puzzles, dolls, dress-up, and a large stuffed animal Bull (which was widely referred to as a "Moose" the whole evening) were scattered across our living room floor getting plenty of use, abuse and love!

In an effort to calm things down and let our food properly digest (yeah right!), I plugged in one of Josh and my favorite movies... the old That Darn Cat! (with Haley Mills). It proved to be entertaining to only about half the lot...the younger kids reverted back to riding Mr. Moose and placing books in my lap (which they then crawled up onto) for me to read to them. No problem! They know "story reading" is a favorite of mine. After the movie and a quick Cheeto snack break, I went back to reading and playing Mrs. Cow and Mrs. Rabbit (little dolls I have) with the little ones on the floor while Josh incited a NERF Revolution in the kitchen! Considering a
potential loss of ALL his ammo (NERF darts), Josh cleverly decided to issue only ONE Nerf bullet per child, per gun. Therefore, when they shoot, they HAVE to go find it in order to keep playing. 

With the four older kids occupied with a "child-adult-uprise" in the kitchen, I played the occasional referee (from the living room). These kids are amazing and our evening with them was priceless! We love getting to play "parents" (or at least "entertainers") for these little ones. I hope that our friends (the PARENTS) had a relaxing, romantic, and memorable evening... we sure did! (minus the relaxing and romantic part). Later, when the army retreated home, I commented to my husband, "You had a long day at work. You didn't have to stay in here with the kids." He just laughed and said, "It's good practice!" (in reference of future parenthood). We love these kiddos!

With all that said, if you (readers) get an opportunity to "lend a helping hand" to a large family, or to a worn-out mom... DO IT! The Word tells us to make the most of every opportunity (Eph 5:16). Let 1 Peter 4:9 be our motivator, "Use hospitality one to another without grudging". We should do this with the right intentions, the right attitude, and with the right heart-set (like mind-set). Don't do it grudgingly. 

The Lord loves a cheerful giver (and giving your time is a lifesaver for mothers!) It doesn't have to be four hours, it can be ten minutes! Just drop by and entertain the kids so mom can, I don't know, "sit down for a second!" :-) Sweep the kitchen, fold the laundry, do the dishes so the mom can take a break or get in a quick reading lesson. You don't have to feel like you're sacrificing the WHOLE day!

 Fifteen minutes of assistance goes a long way in any household with kids (just ask a mother!). Don't do it with the selfish intention of getting something back either (like gratitude, credit, or whatever... that's all "pride before the fall" stuff). You're not doing anyone a "favor". You're not doing anything special. You're simply doing what God has already commanded us to do; to love our neighbors as ourselves.

 If I had 7 kids, I know I'd need a LOT of help! I've just got one husband (and no kids) and I need a LOT of help! It all goes back to the Golden Rule, Luke 6:31 "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise". So put it in the right perspective and remember... it's A HELPING HAND. NOT A HANDOUT.

Amy and Josh G.

(follow me at www.amyhomemaker.blogspot.com)

Here's some photos that really "captured the moment" while our house was full of the "Zs"...





Now didn't Amy brighten your day? She has posted here another time a while back about her and her husband. Don't forget to check out her NEW blog and surprise her with some great comments. Thanks!

4 comments:

Tammy said...

Awesome!! How sweet of them to serve your family in that way. I hope you two enjoyed your time together. Looks like the kiddos had a GREAT time! :oD

Jenifer Harrod said...

They certainly did, Tammy. We had a great time as well. It was fun to go back and remember our courting days.

Heather Mac said...

Good reminder to pay-it-forward whenever we can, from the heart. Thanks for sharing.

karen said...

Amen! We women need to be encouragers to one another in tangible ways. My son and his sweet wife had their second baby recently, and one of the women in the church told them "my gift for you is babysitting-whenever you want." Now that's a gift!!

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