I get to do what I want. Do you?

I regret something that I taught my boys a few months back.  I did it for the right reasons, and at the time, I thought the concept was solid!  But what started out as a good idea morphed into an attitude that I’m less than thrilled with.  You see, I was getting frustrated with telling the boys to get their jobs done every day.  Each one has different responsibilities – taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher, doing their own laundry, putting away stuff, or simply getting their papers out of their backpack each night.  So I came up with the phrase “do your got to’s before your get to’s”.

The whole idea was to help them get into the habit of completing the tasks that needed to be done before spending their time doing “fun stuff”.  It was meant to remind them that sometimes we have to fulfill certain responsibilities before getting to do the things we want to do.  Not a bad concept, right?  You’re tracking with me so far?

The problem is, I have taught them to despise some of the very things they should be learning to be grateful for.  Responsibilities may not always be fun, but they are nearly always an indication of a blessing.  Instead of teaching my boys to get their chores out of the way first because then they can play on the computer or go outside with friends, I should have been teaching them that they can be grateful for washing machines and dishwashers and the opportunity to learn at school.  I should have been modeling to them that every task is something we get to do simply because we have the opportunity to do it!  

My boss, who also happens to be my pastor, has created a culture where we realize we get to do what we do every day.  Our entire organization is run by volunteers – volunteers who don’t have to do anything with us.  Volunteers who understand that they invest their time, energy, and hearts because they get to.  It is precisely because of that understanding that they continue to serve through our organization.  They don’t have to help park cars or run a sound board or teach a class of Elementary students.  They get to. Does it add more to their calendar?  Yes.  Does it get messy sometimes?  Yes.  Does it prevent them from doing other things they might want to do?  No.

Because they realize they get to do what they want to.  Because it’s all in the attitude.  It’s all in perspective. I want to approach life knowing that I get to do what I want to do.  Because I’ve been given the opportunity to do it, and I am choosing to be grateful.




5 thoughts on “I get to do what I want. Do you?”

  1. Karen Vincent says:

    Teaching someone gratitude for the luxuries of life, particularly when they live in this great nation, is like trying to get a fish to see the water it lives in. Teaching children to do chores and have responsibilities is a challenge too. I applaud you for your approach in teaching your sons to work before play. Maybe there will be another opportunity, such as a mission trip to a third world nation, to teach about gratitude for the blessings God has given.

    1. I agree – gratitude is especially difficult here where God has given so many material blessings. Looking forward to bringing the boys to see YOU at your home in Honduras!

  2. Dave says:

    Now if people would only transfer this concept to their relationship with God…

  3. Angel says:

    I am unfortunately guilty of this in my own home. I worded it differently and talked about “priorities” and how certain things need to come first and we need to focus on the time-sensitive things first, but you are so right. I need to be focusing on gratitude being a never-ending theme in our home, especially given my background. When you come from little you learn to appreciate the little things, but my children come from much so translating my heart to them is a challenge I gracefully accept.

    1. Gratitude….so simple, but so hard. I’m cheering you on as you make this shift in your family!

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