As a parent I am always looking for teachable moments. Something unplanned, a "just sort of happens" kind of thing, and what's even better is when I have a story to illustrate my point.
The kids were home early from school since today is the day before Thanksgiving. I gave them lunch and promptly told them that I wanted certain chores to be done. Specifically I needed them to take the wheelbarrow to the back of the yard where my husband had stacked the wood he split from trees we lost over the past two years, load it up with the wood, bring the wheelbarrow around to the front of the house and unload it's contents onto the firewood rack. So of course as soon as the words finished coming out of my mouth Grace immediately threw her head back while letting out a big "ugh" and then says to me "Why do I (emphasizing the "I") have to do it?" My reply was a stern..."Because I asked (emphasizing the "YOU") you." Reluctantly she put on her shoes and jacket and headed, no stomped her way out to the back yard. I reminded Michael to go with her as it was his chore too.
About 20 or so minutes went by when Grace reappeared inside the house and made the big announcement that she "loaded up all the wood and stacked it onto the rack while Michael stood by doing nothing." I looked at her and very calmly said that I wished she hadn't told me that tidbit of information. Grace gave me an inquisitive look which quickly turned into the grimace of someone who was about to be treated unjustly. It was at this point I told her this story...
There is a legend of a rich man who came to visit a cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will only be covered up by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.
Grace still wasn't sure what I was getting at so I then put it to her this way. I said to her...do what is right and do not seek any praise or glory by going around tooting your own horn. God is the only one who ever needs to know about any good deeds you have done, as He will have already bore witness to your actions.
Then I decided to take it one step further and explained to Grace that when you do a good deed, whether it was something you were asked to do or not, perform the task and when you are done quietly move on. But if you perform the task and then make an announcement to the world that you did the job, or seek repayment in anyway, then the work you have done has now been diminished by your own words and actions, thus leaving your efforts regarded as something very close to meaningless.
Grace looked at me and thought for a moment. And as I looked back at her, I could see the corners of her mouth slowly begin to curl up.
Wishing you all a very Blessed Thanksgiving!