Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Most Selfish Little Girl

I wake up this morning to the sound of my daughters screaming about who gets what toy.  They have little stockpiles of toys in the living room for an imaginary game, and they both want the same doll to add to their pile.

How dare they! They have so much, and instead of being generous, they insist on more, more, more.   I call them into the bedroom for a grand lecture on greed, but as I look into their faces, I realize I am looking into a mirror of my own selfish heart.  How am I different from these girls?

I'm that little girl demanding more. 

I'm overcome with compassion as I realize the depth of the cultural myth--the deeply spiritual myth--we all adopt.  I believe in the poisonous narrative of greed.  I believe that if I had more wealth, more productivity, more time, more anything, I would have the good life.

It's a lie that's killing us.  

"Girls," I insist with tears in my eyes, "I want you to put something to the test.  I want you to practice generosity and see how it feels.  You will never be satisfied with stuff.  Your heart will only be truly happy when you live generously.  Besides, it all belongs to God."

I even read the scriptures aloud where I learn the wisdom of Proverbs 11:  "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed" or the truth of 1 Timothy 6 that we are to put "no hope in wealth" but to "hope in God who richly provides all things for our enjoyment."  The writer continues by saying, "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

I want to be rich in good deeds.  I want to have a generous heart that wants to share.  There's a life out there that's "truly life," and I fear that my heart's desire to accumulate more robs me of that true life.

Later in church, the pastor announces his message is on greed (isn't that funny?), and meanwhile, my daughter works the registration table to greet families and give out name tags.   As I watch her serving others, I see that carefree smile--those bright, refreshed eyes--of somebody giving to others. 

The day goes on: toys, food, games, and the stuff of childhood.  All day, I wonder about the path to happiness. 

I ask my daughter when she was happiest today.  She replies, "at the registration table."


_________________
Journal:  Is it true that when I refresh others, I am refreshed myself?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've always thought it amazing how kids can "fight over pretend" but I did it and mine did too.
Great lesson you taught your daughter's.
As the saying goes, "repetition is the seed of learning."
Keep on planting those seeds, Mom.

Patricia said...

Wonderful post, Heather. And what a wise mother you are.

Love,
Patricia

Lyn said...

I agree, somehow we are more blessed, when we give something of ourselves away. Perhaps that's because we are made in God's image & His way is to love, to give & to serve...

Susan Deborah said...

I hear you, Heather. For me, it is very difficult to give. I don't have greed but the twin of greed, selfishness is quite seen in my behaviour. How I wish I could change it. I do try but then old habits are hard to die. I am still trying.

I liked the way you didn't preach to your girls and helped them in the right way.

Glad to have stopped by.

Joy always,
Susan

Anonymous said...

Wow - great word this morning!
I'm memorizing 1 Thess 5:16-18 "Be joyful always, 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I find when we practice these simple truths, it causes us to become generous.

Thanks!

Design Elements said...

wonderful!