A “Your Mother’s Guidance” post by Rebecca Masinter
In the Sinai desert, the Tabernacle was the place where human beings could get closest to God. Building it was a project for everyone—no exceptions. Everyone in the nation contributed to it.
In our homes, we often have different people with different strengths, weaknesses, and contributions to make. Just as the Tabernacle needed to come from men and women, leaders and laymen, our homes are also built when everyone has a role and can contribute and be a giver in his or her own way.
Here’s the kicker: it’s not that the Tabernacle needed to come from everyone as much as that everyone needed to build the Tabernacle. The Israelites were fresh from generations of slavery and poverty and needed to see themselves as people with great resources and skills. By having all the Jews contribute to the Tabernacle, God was showing them their abilities, wealth, and talents. Through being givers of such magnitude, they could recognize their worthiness and value.
There are two ways we can ask for help in our homes. One is focused on our need,
“I need help. I’m overwhelmed. Can you do x, y, or z?”
That is not bad or wrong and is certainly sometimes the reality. But think for a moment of the same help being contributed but with a whole different attitude. What if it’s not about me, it’s about my kids? It’s important for our children to know they have worth, resources, skills, and talents that contribute to our families. What if I ask my child for help not because I desperately need it, but because my child needs to give?
When we need help in the moment we tend to ask the one who is most capable or easily available, but in truth, it’s a good idea for us to think proactively about what each child can contribute and how we can make that happen in the best times in the best way. Here’s a simple example: for many years I have kept a lightweight battery operated vacuum cleaner in the kitchen. This vacuum can easily be operated by a 3 year old and it is a real help to have my kitchen floor cleaned! I also store dishes in bottom cupboards to allow younger children to unload dishwashers and set the table.
My older kids also need me to think through how I can facilitate their contributing. The older they get the less frequently they’re home! But even my high school son who’s rarely home knows that he is a huge contributor to our family; we need him and count on him.
Finally, it may not be easy or obvious to figure out how a particularly challenging kid can be a meaningful contributor to the family. This child needs it even more than the others! We have to see and believe in his strengths and give him the responsibility to contribute positively to our family, so that he can begin to believe in himself and his abilities too. The lessons from the Tabernacle are so profound! No one is exempt. Everyone needs to be a giver, and everyone has what to contribute. By giving, we all, in actuality, receive far, far more.