Today, I had the joy of taking my 12 and 14 year old grocery shopping. You would think that was an easy task, but not today. For some reason these two children decided they were going to be children—more like toddlers. It all started as soon as we got in the truck after school and continued on our laps around the grocery store and didn’t finish until we entered the house. All I could think was, why do I subject myself to this torture, and why are they acting so juvenile? Then, flashbacks from my own days of torturing my brother kept creeping up in my brain. Was I this horrible? Was I this obnoxious? I think maybe I was worse!
My children were actually playing the Echo Game–yes, that’s right at 12 and 14 they were playing that silly game! Do you remember the Echo Game? Someone says something and the other repeats it. Everyone has played it once in their lives I’m sure. Admittedly so or not, we’ve all went there. Well, as I listened to my darling adolescence subject themselves to this mental torture, I remember playing the game and making my brother say bad things about himself, I had to chuckle under my breath. Good times.
Then it was the time for, “Can we get a treat?” After my sigh and the long hum and hah, the battle began. What battle you may wonder? The battle of who was going to get the best treat, and the all favorite, “If she gets that, then I get two treats.” My kids are competitive by nature and I’m sure along the way, my husband and I nurtured it too, so when it comes to treats, they price shop and know how to get the most for their treat. They are also strong at making sure the other doesn’t get any more money spent on them than their counter part. Flashbacks to my brother and doing the exact same stunt, only I was much more vocal about the competition, but sadly, my brother didn’t have a competitive bone in his body, so that was never as pleasing to me as it is to my two children.
Next it was wheel the groceries out and put them into the truck. Somehow, it ended up only my son and me loading the groceries from the cart to my truck. I was wondering what happened to my daughter and I could see her all perched pretty in the front seat of the truck, scared she might have to sit in the back seat if she didn’t claim squatters rights as soon as possible. I would have clawed my brother’s eyes out to get the front seat, and eventually the easy-going natured child that he was he wouldn’t even bother fighting with me and just resign himself to sitting in the back. Honestly, I was a monster!
As I drove home and listened to the second game of Echo for the day, my mind drifted back to my childhood memories of my horrible torture that I instilled daily on my sweet, kindhearted brother who I ate for breakfast and spit out at lunch. How could I treat such an incredible person so poorly? Proverbs 11:21, reminds us, “Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.” I was so evil to my brother, and deserved to be punished for the torture I put him through. Thank goodness it was sibling rivalry, or at least it was on my part. He was the oldest and I was the youngest trying to win my way to the top of the family.
How many of us are guilty of this? Treating some people very poorly, even though it might be the people that we love the most, like I did with my remarkable brother. Why do we do this? Why is it that we are nicest to the strangers at work or the acquaintances at the grocery store? We shower them with smiles and our sunshiny moods, then we come home and take out our daily frustrations on the people we love? Why do we save our troubles for our husband to hear about after his hard day at work? Or do you trudge around the house grumbling about things under your breath? Wondering why people can’t hang up their jackets, or leave their dirty clothes lying on the floor.
Stop it! Change now! Our family is who we should be treating with the most respect and love! Stop treating them with an evil spirit, no matter what pent up frustration or anger you have inside of you from your day. Be thankful you have coats to hang up, be grateful that you have clothes to dirty and be appreciative of the amazing brother, father, husband, children, grandparents, etc. you have in your life!
Instead of treating the strangers that we meet, or the acquaintances at work with this angelic facade lets change it up and save the energy and love for those that we love the most. Shower these people with the love they deserve and let the little things slide. Someday, those little things, might make or break you, and trust me that is when you will see the big picture.
Just like I did today, reflecting back on the way I treated my incredible big brother. It’s not just my brother I’ve treated poorly in my life, I have a long list and hopefully those people will understand how much they mean to me and how I had my priorities backwards. For all those loved ones I’ve hurt in the past, please forgive me!