Spare the Rice!

Its summer time! I remember as a child being so excited for summer – not having to go to school, no homework, being able to stay up later at night and sleep a little longer in the morning –but after about 2 weeks the excitement wore off. We all do better when we’re on a “planned” schedule than when we are just loafing and wandering through each day. Pretty soon the day seems too long, and well it’s easy to get in trouble when we are not occupied!

As the oldest of five children, and the only girl – I was rarely not occupied:) My brothers on the other hand were younger and had less responsibility than I did, so they definitely had too much time on their hands. This reminds me of the parable in Matthew 19. Verses 13 and 14 say, “And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” In other words they didn’t want to submit to who and what was given and expected of them.

I recall one time in particular when my grandparents were staying with us and my brothers began to complain about being bored. Now, they had plenty of things to do – they could clean their rooms, they could play in the backyard, play games, read a book – numerous things…but they didn’t want to do any of those things – they chose instead to whine – bad move! My grandfather very wisely invented something to keep them occupied…he grabbed a bag of long grained rice and emptied the contents on the carpet and then said, “so, you’re bored, well this will keep you busy – pick up all the rice!”

I suppose to some of you that may sound a little harsh or at the very least wasteful – but it taught all of us some very valuable lessons.

1. If you’ve got something to do – do it!

2. Don’t complain or whine about the task at hand – you could be given a less desirable task.

3. It is better to learn to enjoy doing what you can do than to murmur and complain…you just might spend your life doing menial tasks to keep you occupied instead of accomplishing something worthwhile.

So moms, if you’ve got school aged kids at home – help them (and yourself) by making a schedule (not too rigid).

1. Have a getting up and going to bed “no later than” time. (Sometimes kids get up earlier than we wish – but don’t let them stay in bed too late in the morning.)

2. Have your meals at the same time every day

3. Read to your younger children every day – especially before nap time if they still nap, or after lunch for a cooling down time.

4. Include outside time – running around and burning all their energy! (This can be at home in the yard, going to the park, or going for a walk in the neighborhood.)

5. Give your kids incentives to get the “work” done. (for example: if you clean your room well, we will go to the park; set a timer and let them know it must be done within that time)

6. Have happy music playing and sing with your kids – while your cooking and they’re playing with “sit down in the house” toys.

7. Have Bible time and pray with your kids every day – let them hear you pray for them the things that are on your heart – and when they begin to behave in answer to your prayer – let them know how pleased you are!

Occupy - yes, be occupied and teach your kids to stay occupied…it’s a whole lot better than spending your time picking up all those grains of rice!

Have a wonderful day!


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