By Karen Steinhauser
As I am writing this, Easter has passed. The day before the holiday I found myself with a ton of work to do and a very short time in which to get it done. My ten year old granddaughter, Summer, was spending some time with me, and I decided to give her a small job to do. I noticed I could write my name in the dust on three of the tables in our family room. Summer had been upstairs in her room and I called her down, gave her a cloth and told her what I wanted done. I watched her very hurriedly remove the things off one table, and give it “a lick and a promise.” I started to let it slide, and then I decided I would be making a huge mistake. Ten years old is a great time to learn that anything worth doing is worth doing right. I had also told her that she would be getting paid. I went into the family room and broke the news that she was going to need to start all over. I let her know that she was in way too big of a hurry, and I pointed out where there was still dust that she had left behind. I was impressed with her attitude. She didn’t say a word; just quietly removed all the things again and then put some serious “elbow grease” into the dusting. When she was finished, she made an extra dollar because of her good attitude in allowing me to correct her and because she had done an exceptional job.
I remember when Summer was only six, my son, who is her Uncle Jason, was playing a board game with her. I was watching and noticed Jason was giving it all he had to win. I thought “how cruel!” I decided I would straighten him out, and I pulled him to the side and told him to stop. He actually ended up straightening me out. He asked me how she would ever learn to deal with disappointment if she was never allowed to have any! I told him to carry on.
I believe we have done the next generation a great disservice by not passing down the wisdom that we possess. If we are going to teach the younger ones, it will cost us some time. I was busy cooking when I noticed Summer was not doing such a great job with the dusting. I was tempted to just go on with what I was doing, let her do her thing, and then go back over it myself at some point. It took time to go and show her, while explaining to her that she was getting paid, and she needed to do the honorable thing and truly earn her pay. She is worth the investment to me!
I dare to say that lesson will stick with her. It may have taught her a lesson that will result in a promotion later on in life because she will not slop things up or do the least she can get by with. Somewhere along the way, we have lost the concept of taking pride in our work and doing things to the very best of our ability. It is rare to see this in the upcoming generation, but I blame us for not having taught them. We certainly are to blame that we have not required it.
While getting my prep work done for our Easter meal, I made cupcakes; and Summer and I dyed the icing to make some pretty pastel colors. I decided it was time to teach her how to put the icing on the cupcakes. She got a bit frustrated that hers didn’t look just like “Gammy’s.” I asked her if she thought mine looked like that on my first attempt. I also let her know that the more she practiced the better she was going to be. By the time we had finished the whole batch, she was feeling good about the end result. She could already see that hers looked better than when she had started, proving my point.
Whether it is your children, grandchildren or just some younger folks you come in contact with, take the time to invest in them. Share your wisdom. Use the mundane, everyday tasks as a learning opportunity. It’s an investment into their future that can pay dividends.
If you invest, you will be blessed!
I hope that you will settle down someplace quiet next week, maybe after some spring cleaning. Take a break, grab a snack, and we will talk about what’s on my heart, and see what we can learn from it.
As always, God bless.
Karen Sparks Steinhauser is an Estill County native who now resides in Richmond Kentucky. She is a Christian children’s author and speaker. If you wish to contact her or schedule her for an event you may do so at Karensteinhauser7@gmail.com or 859-893-1758.