Because if they were left on their own, it would look, and sound, very much like world war 3. There would be fighting and screaming and toys being strewn from floor to ceiling and tears and tantrums and biting and hair pulling and the slaming of doors...just not a pretty picture. And on days when my patience is non-existant (at best), it is easier for me to keep them busy then it is for me to referee. Because when I am keeping them busy, I can hear that still small voice whispering about patience and kindness and gentleness and the words I use and the tone in my voice. And when I am interacting with them, it is easier to listen to that, to do the *right* thing, to bite my tounge.To laugh at the flour flung from floor to ceiling and the icing spread across their clothes, to giggle at the craziness that comes out of their mouths if you just stop and listen, without an agenda.
My friends seem to think I'm crazy, or motivated, or inspiring. I'm not. Honestly? It is how I survive the day to day with 5 (4 of whom are under 5).I need to be busy. Generally out of the house is better than in the house (the walls have a tendancy to feel like they are closing in), but when out doesn't work, there are wonderful ways to keep kids busy inside. Provided, of course, I have the right attitude and it's not all about me.
But that being said, those are the same days, days that have been filled with activites, where I flop on the couch at 7:10pm, look around and wonder exactly what it was I managed to accomplish.Because there are crumbs on the carpet, dirt in the sinks, dishes piled to the sky, sticky spots on the floor and a half dozen launrdy baskets in varying states of cleanliness scattered around the main floor and basement.
It's the days where I know that the kids have made memories, and had fun and maybe, hopefully, even learned something in the process.But I still wonder what tangible thing was accomplished, because when you spend 8 hours with 5 kids and all that you can *show* for it is a plate of cookies and an egg carton caterpillar, it doesn't seem like much, but it is, just not in a way that most people would recognize.These are the days that I want there to be more of in our life. Some days are great, truly wonderful but, sadly, that doesn't always happen, the kids are sent to the rec room to occupy their time while I deal with that mountain of clothes or the sticky places, or I just need to be out of ear shoot (like locked in the bathroom with a cup of coffee).
And my interaction consists of calling down the stairs at them to "PLEASE STOP SLAMMING THE DOORS AND USE YOUR INSIDE VOICES". (yes, I realize the irony in that, as I'm yelling down at them!)
But, I learn something on these days, days filled with giggles and flour and blocks and paint. Something that is easy to forget when *life* is happening around you, when the *noise* is too much.It truly is better to give. To serve, to love, to laugh, to shine with our actions rather than the words we use. Because at the end of *these* days, we are happier, things have gone smoother, there is a peace. I long to be the type of person that doesn't need (in a perfectionist sort of way)to be concerned about the laundry piles or the dishes or the whatever, but to take the time, to make the memories, to teach my kids about the servant heart of God by my actions. It's not easy, it requires me being intentional about it, because if I'm not intentional, it doesn't happen.