Living in the small house with four children can sometimes be crazy. Being the only woman in the house, I sometimes find myself all alone cleaning the mess my boys left. Do not get me wrong. My kids are real helpful and thoughtful. And these are the same reasons which sometimes pushes me not to bother them and give them the break they deserve.
But if there is one thing I truly enjoy being the mother of my kids, it is the valuable lessons they often teach their parents. Just like what I learned this week from my second son.
Son standing and walking around three times
I was reviewing my 11-year-old boy for his Mastery Exam in English. The two other school kids were busy doing their homework. Then from time to time, my second son would stand up and go outside. He did that for about three times until I snapped.
“Why can’t you stay in one place? How can you finish your assignment when you keep on standing and walking around? You make me dizzy!” was my remark.
Second son kept mum and stayed in one place until he was able to finish his work. He did not stand up anymore and went outside.
The boys were able to finish their homework just before bed time. My Big Bunso and I were also done with our review. After supper and my usual “wash your face and brush your teeth” reminder, my three boys all went upstairs to sleep. I was left to tidy the living room. As I was about to throw our garbage, I then understood why my son kept on going outside. He made a drawing on an illustration board. And that required him to sharpen the worn surface of his pencil from time to time. He was not merely “leisurely walking.”
This made me remember the story I read to my 17-month old son about a week ago. It was the Parable of the Two Woodcutters.
Two woodcutters were competing against each other as to who could chop down the most trees in a day. Both started hacking away within earshot of each other. After an hour, Sam stopped. Fred was puzzled but carried on chopping.
Five minutes later, he could again hear the swing of Sam’s axe. Another hour went by, and Sam again seemed to stop chopping for a few minutes. Fred was thrilled. He became more confident that he would win.
So he kept chopping away, pausing now and again to wipe away the perspiration from his forehead. Sam’s “start and stop” continued for the rest of the day, and Fred’s delight grew.
At the end of the day, however, Fred was surprised to discover that Sam had felled more trees.
“How can this be? I never stopped chopping once but you kept taking a break!”
“Yes, but I stopped to sharpen my axe,” Sam replied.
Lesson from the son and the woodcutter
A small investment of time can give significant rewards. Time spent to equip oneself can make a difference as well. Often, we work so hard that we ignore to find time for the more important things. Things which will make us more functional. Sharpening our axe may include taking the needed sleep or rest instead of continuing to work all night. Or relaxing once in a while from work. And enriching ourselves with learning and not sticking to what we are used to knowing and doing.
I, too, often forget to sharpen my axe. Just last night, I slept at around 12 midnight because I was finishing an article due for two days more. I hope we always find time to sharpen our axe and learn from the woodcutter and my 13-year-old son.