Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Devil is in the Details

Susannah, carefully folding rags to put away.
Reed, not so carefully un-putting them away.

I hate details. Hate them. I am a big picture kind of gal. I can even think up big pictures in great detail. I notice details. The little things that make the difference between excellence and ordinary. I make great judgements about others based on exacting details. I am constantly harping (pretty much everyone) about details. ("Put your shoes in your cubby", "Did you call the lawyer about that yet?", "Start with a capital, end with a period.", etc)

But ask me to be the one to execute the details, and I'd rather execute myself.

Doing a budget is like torture to me. Not because I'm opposed to a budget, but because I hate details. Planning my primary songs to teach from week to week? I have to FORCE myself to sit and focus on it for an hour to plan a month at a time. It makes me break out into a sweat. (I once knew a primary music leader who planned out the entire YEAR in advance. I'd stroke out)

I married under the assumption that if one of you is not a detail person, your spouse will be. Again, I didn't bother to check the details on that one. Apparently, neither did he.

I've had people they tell me they admire my ability to do "big" "courageous" things, like say, act as general contractor on our first house ever, or waltz into a school board meeting and tell them why their reading curriculum is hideous and what they need to do fix it. (and then personally oversee that it happens) I don't mind getting up in front of a large group and talking about pretty much anything. I'll even sing for them. No prob. Ten minutes notice to speak in church? Okay. Might not be the best talk ever, but I could do it. Sounds kinda fun actually.

I don't see what's so difficult.

But please don't ask me to plan out the next 10 years of family vacations. (I'll need a vacation to recover from all that planning.)

I've been very fortunate to have been blessed with at least 1 child who loves details. She keeps us all on task. Hands me the coupons at the grocery store checkout line. Reminds me to give people their medicine. Let's me know I promised them ice cream 3 months ago. Tells me how I'm 3 miles over the speed limit, etc.
Very helpful.

It's a curious thing that we admire and envy those who can so easily do what torments us. It's even more curious that we give ourselves so little credit for what comes easily, and question why others can't "just" do the same.

It makes me very glad for this scripture.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Building up my parenting self-esteem

A short while back we had a really fun family night.

It was so touching when Jack brought down a certificate for me just before bed that read as follows:

"Parent Award for (fill in the blank) for being the Best of the Best parents anywhere
To mention only a few of your many honorable qualities: (fill in the blank)
You will be held in honor forever by your loving and dutiful (Son/Daughter) (fill in the blank)
Signed and delivered (fill in the blank)"

I looked at it, and though he had not taken the time to fill in the blanks, (he is a 13 year old boy), it was so sweet that he thought to retrieve and present it to me. I mentioned that maybe I could put it on my desk and he could fill it in for me.

((hugs)) and off to bed he went.

Fast forward a few days. Said (blank) certificate is still on my desk.

We come home from an outing which had apparently stirred some affection for me from Olivia. Having taken notice of the blank certificate on my desk, she was inspired to fill it out and present it to me.

She filled it in thus:
If you can read through the scribbles, it says: "To mention only a few of your many honorable qualities: WHEN YOU YELL AT US"

(It wasn't scribbled when she handed it to me) Puzzled, I asked, "You like it when I yell at you?"

Olivia responded, "That's one of your horrible qualities"

Thankfully, when I told her the word was "honorable" not "horrible", she quickly crossed out her remark.

I guess the good news is, even if I yell (sometimes), they love me, right?