Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What Kind of Home Will You and Your Family Build?

My hubby and I were chatting about things the other day and decided something needed to be done about how the kids were NOT making home the tidiest and happiest of places. The more we prayerfully considered what was going on and what to do about it, an idea popped into my head.

I didn't want to sit there and dictate to the kids what we were seeing, what was wrong, and what was GOING TO HAPPEN!!! Grumbling would have been heard throughout the land. Instead a story began to form in my mind and, using a talent God gave me, I began to write a funny story to help illustrate to the kids not only what was happening, but would hopefully encourage them to come up with their own ideas on how to make our home a happier place.

A few friends asked me to share my story, and so (with a few changes) I decided to share it with everyone. Some of the main problems we were facing is my daughter's addiction to Facebook, my boys' addiction to video games, and the littlest's need to be shrill and demanding because no one pays any attention to her. So that is what my little Princes and Princesses face in the story.

I would highly encourage you to look for creative ways to positively deal with the problems in your home. Just like in the story, we sat down as a family and came up with some goals to try and make things better here. In a few weeks we will sit down and see how it's going, see what's working and what isn't, and then make any necessary changes.

And now, enjoy the story.

Once upon a time there lived an awesome and royal family in the Kingdom of Best Valley. This family had the following members: Queen Ma and King Pa Balker, their oldest Princess Alec (they thought she was going to be a boy and the name stuck even after she turned out to be a girl), Prince Paulina (who was named after his grandpa but after what happened the first time, and thinking he was also going to be a boy, they opted to try a girl’s name), another Prince Brianne (after two other kids they decided not to break the pattern and gave their next son a girl’s name), and Princess Banana (Queen Ma Locker ate an awful lot of bananas during that pregnancy and thought the name Banana could be for a boy OR a girl).

For many years the royal Balker family lived in mostly love and almost always harmony. They enjoyed going on outings together and worked sorta hard to keep their castle tidy and neat. They enjoyed reading books as a royal family and could often be seen doing works of service for those in their kingdom.

As the Princes and Princesses grew older, however, something sad began to happen. The time the family spent in these wonderful activities became less frequent. King Pa and Queen Ma spent more and more time on errands for the kingdom, trying to keep everything in working order, and when they weren’t working, they were found to be increasingly hidden away in the royal bedchamber, tired from all their efforts.

Princess Alec had found a new and addicting hobby called Flacebooker where she could easily access other princes and princesses in surrounding lands! She could, and often did, spend HOURS conversing with those she rarely had access to before. The Royal family began to see more of the back of her head rather than the front of her Flace, uh, face.

Prince Paulina had long been a huge fan of buttons. Not the sort that keeps your clothes from falling right off you, but rather those that made magical things happen. Some buttons would make the made-up doings of other people in other lands appear on a screen that he could watch and laugh about for hours on end. Which he did. A lot. And if someone dared to tell him it was time to stop there would be great wailings and gnashing of teeth from the young prince until Queen Ma and King Pa would often think about getting rid of his access to these pretend lands.

Both Paulina and Brianne had a great love for the buttons that made other creatures in pretend lands move across the magic screen, doing their every bidding. Prince Brianne especially loved the two devices that let him push these sorts of buttons: the Woo and the PlagueStation. He had also developed a recent love of a food called Poppern, a crunchy and sweetly air popped delight he could live off of if given the opportunity.

Last, but certainly not least, was little Banana. As everyone became intent on doing their own thing she was neglected more and more. Her voice became louder and shriller in the hopes of being heard by those who were too busy to pay her any attention. She began to spend a lot of time in her royal bedchamber playing with toys that felt more her family than the real members. She was also placed frequently in front of movies in the hopes of keeping her entertained so others could do their own thing.

The Royal Balker family could not see that anything was too wrong at the moment, but Someone else did. He was the seventh member of their family, a prince by the name of Dalevid who had all ready gone on to the great Kingdom in the Skye, but who could see what was going on with his family below. And what he saw worried him. He wanted his family to come and live with him in the Kingdom in the Skye, but if they kept going down this path that might not happen. So he began to send down little whisperings and nudges in the hopes his parents would hear.

Happily, they did. The King and Queen began to take a closer look at what was going on and didn’t like much of what they saw. The castle was a mess. Clothes were strewn everywhere. There was clean laundry that sat in the basket for days before anyone thought to do anything about it. In the royal bedchambers there were dirty clothes all over the floor, even - much to the Queen’s dismay - right next to the royal laundry hamper. The Queen found a dirty sock in a much traveled hallway and wondered what would happen if she did not pick it up. The answer was: nothing. No one else, not even the owner of the sock, picked it up and placed it in a hamper.

There was clutter everywhere. Instead of using something and putting it back in it’s rightful place, things were left wherever they’d been used: on a table, a floor, a couch, a bathtub, a sink, or a bucket. Used up bags, wrappers, containers, and dishes could be found on just about every surface. Crumbs began to make their way into everyone’s socks, until Queen Ma felt ready to send a giant cyclone through the castle in the hopes it would suck all the crumbs away. But cyclones are not meant to be used to clean, and would only have reduced the castle to rubble. So she nixed that idea.

As Queen Ma and King Pa began to take stock of the mess, the two of them agreed to start doing better about picking up after themselves and their children. Their thought was, if they began to do it their children would follow their examples and help right along. Unfortunately this is not what happened. Instead the more they worked to clean and help out and pick up, the lazier and messier their children became. With Ma and Pa doing their work, they had more time to do their own thing.

So now instead of sweeping up once or twice a week, Queen Ma and King Pa would sweep up once or twice a day. The laundry would often pile up so high from improper room cleanings Queen Ma would find herself incredibly overwhelmed with the amount and not want to do it at all. King Pa would come home from a long day at work and visiting with Kingdom members only to find his castle in chaos, and would become so frustrated he would want to do nothing but hide in his room and escape in a good book.

The King and Queen noticed other changes as well. Their beloved Princes and Princesses argued a lot more. They wanted to spend less time together and more time away from each other. The royal children began to care more for other people and pretend places than they did for their own family. And so the King and Queen knelt down to ask their Father in the Kingdom of the Skye what they should do.

Their Father began to send down promptings and ideas to the two distressed parents, and on one particular Sunday after a day of Worshipping at church Queen Ma and King Pa had some answers. They gathered their precious children together one night and asked them a question: What sort of castle should we build? At first the children thought they were going to build a brand new castle.

“One with a giant room filled with magical buttons and loads of Woo’s and PlagueStations!” shouted the Princes.

“And my very own room where I can spend the whole day with my friends on Flacebooker!” yelled Princess Alec.

The King and Queen looked dismayed. This wasn’t going as they had hoped. There was one surprisingly quiet voice among the group. Queen Ma and King Pa noticed little Banana over in the corner looking very sad indeed. “What’s the matter Banana?” they asked.

“I don’t want a new castle. I like this one,” she said.

“What do you like so much about it?” they asked.

“I like the kitchen where we sit down and eat together and talk and laugh. And I like this room where we play games and throw Brianne’s teddy bear back and forth. And I like my room where my sister and I sometimes lay down and giggle together. And I like the Prince’s room where we play and have fun. And I especially like your room where we sometimes laugh together and where you let me sleep when I’ve had a bad dream. I don’t want another castle.”

The room grew quiet. King Pa took Banana in his arms and held her tight, trying to quiet her cries. Queen Ma looked at her other children and said, “I want a castle where we help each other, where we play together, where we work together to make this a beautiful place. I want this to be a place where the spirit of our Father can reside, and He has said He can only be in a clean and orderly place.

“King Pa and I have been trying to make this a cleaner and happier place, but we can’t do it ourselves. We shouldn’t have to do it ourselves. We need your help.”

The Princes and Princesses were surprised. Ma and Pa needed their help? They thought their parents had it all under control. But now that they stopped to look at the King and Queen, they could see how tired the two of them were. And so the family sat down to make some goals on how to make their castle the sort where their Father’s spirit could be.

It took some time, and a lot of work, but eventually the castle in the Kingdom of Best Valley began to be a house of order and cleanliness. Those who entered in could feel the spirit of the Father in that castle, and it made them happy. The Royal family made an effort to spend more time together and less time on other things. Even Queen Ma and King Pa did their best to make time for their children, and to spend that time doing what was right. Even Brianne managed to eat something other than Poppern. Up in the Kingdom in the Skye both Dalevid and Father were happy with what they saw.


Heather H said...

Hi, I just stumbled across your blog while searching for something else. This parable is so perfect for my family! Can I use it for my own FHE?

LaurieW said...

Heather - I am MORE than willing to let you use it! I hope it turns out to be a fantastic FHE :)