Josiah and Phillip limbing a tree they helped Tim to fall.

Josiah and Phillip limbing a tree they helped Tim to fell.

This week I’ve been thinking about teamwork. Years ago when I was first learning from Marilyn about relationships, she would say, “The evidence and the fruit of right relating is Unity, Harmony, and Teamwork.” I know she’s written many messages along these lines through the years, but it’s been on my mind this week, and so I thought I’d bring it to your minds as well. I was really blessed this last weekend to see this precious fruit abounding with so much maturity in my children. My heart swelled with their expression of love, and I was so pleased with them!

We got to spend four days at Grandma and Grandpa’s helping them make their house and property closer to being able to sell. The project list was long and the outside temperatures were high as my children and my husband and his dad flowed together to accomplish it all and more. There was LOTS of sweat, sap, sawdust, dirt, sunburn and scratched up arms and faces, while there was a complete lack of complaining, bad attitudes, relational friction or irritated offense. These common negative relational habits were so absent, the neighbor felt compelled to come over and comment to my husband about how the kids were working together. He was amazed that a group of teenagers could work so hard together with such peace and kindness toward each other, and even more amazed that they were brothers and sisters. The neighbor was witnessing our unity, harmony, and teamwork.

Rachel ready to operate the chipper

Rachel ready to operate the chipper

I wanted to encourage you dear moms. Unity, harmony and teamwork are not produced over night. If you’re just beginning to restore the relationships in your family, they are a vision for the future. Our unity, harmony and teamwork have been years in the making. You can start today on this blessed pathway! I’ve been thinking about the ingredients for the forming of our unity, harmony and teamwork which began many years ago.

Learning to do chores together with willing attitudes all around

This weekend my kids were doing way more than household chores, but their skills and abilities toward their tasks and the quality of their work came from knowing how to receive instruction and being able to work hard in their household chores through the years.

Learning to work together begins with Mom’s attitude. When I willingly and joyfully go about the work involved in maintaining my home, my children find it much easier to catch my attitude and make it their own. I have brought my children along side me, patiently showing them both how to do quality work as they increase in physical skill, and how to do it joyfully and willingly as they increase in relational skill.

This process will be hindered if you have wrong expectation toward the kids’ physical and relational abilities or if your main focus and motivation is to just get the tasks done as soon as possible.

Tim, Annie and Lizzy working the chipper

Tim, Annie and Lizzy working the chipper

You can move your family toward unity, harmony, and teamwork by having a willing attitude, and bringing your children up into managing your home with you, while you help them increase in skill with a willing attitude.

Teaching your children how to handle misunderstandings and foibles

Misunderstandings and foibles happen on a regular basis. While we were working this weekend, many misunderstandings and foibles happened. The end fell off Grandpa’s old rake, and the handle on his new one broke. Annie didn’t know that Grandpa’s tractor mower doesn’t go in reverse while the mower is on. We planned on hamburgers for dinner, but no one remembered to buy hamburger buns. Sometimes branches and huge bundles of blackberry vines just didn’t go where there were planned to go and they ended up hitting or scratching someone else. Sometimes one was unknowingly pulling on the blackberry vine that was digging into another’s arm, or stuck on their shirt. And over and over one of the kids brought their bundle of branches to the chipper only to run into someone else bringing their bundle at the same time, causing the need to stand and wait in the hot sun with their heavy load for their turn to push it through.

the massive blackberry infestation

the massive blackberry infestation

If my children didn’t know how to handle misunderstandings and foibles with patience and understanding, these instances would be a time for irritation, blame, accusation, offense, or even anger. They would assume ill intent or stupidity to be the cause instead of assuming the best of each other and accepting that sometime accidents happen, and sometimes we get confused, misunderstand, or forget.

Teaching your children how to handle misunderstandings and foibles is an important step toward unity, harmony, and teamwork. It begins with Mom extending lots of grace for the misunderstandings and foibles that come with her children’s immaturity.

This goal is spoiled when Mom is irritated, blaming, accusing, and taking up personal offense while assuming ill intent or stupidity of her family when things aren’t going her way.

You can take steps toward unity, harmony, and teamwork today by taking the time to help your children know how to respond with patient understanding to the misunderstandings and foibles between them.

Phillip attacking the Blackberries

Phillip attacking the Blackberries

Living a life that is bigger than yourselves

We took on the concerns of my husband’s parents, and made those concerns our own. With unity, harmony, and teamwork, we were able to be a blessing and meet some of their needs.

We made steps toward our ability to do this work by teaching our children how to love and serve each other at home. With lots of uninterrupted time at home, I drew my children to be interested in each other’s interests, and I led them to see how they could help each other with their interests. This was the beginning of living a life that is bigger than themselves. As they’ve grown in their ability to understand and see the needs of others, this desire to help and serve naturally overflows to people outside our family.

If your goal in life is to serve yourself and do what you want to do with your life and your time, you will rarely need any sort of team effort. Living an independent self-focused life doesn’t require unity, harmony or teamwork.

blackberries all gone

blackberries all gone

Unity, harmony, and teamwork are undermined when parents surrender their children to build their life with their peers as each member of the family begins to live independent lives, each going their own way and doing their own thing with their friends.

You can move your family toward unity, harmony, and teamwork today by taking on the Lord’s heart for your children, taking on their concerns, and meeting their needs with lots of uninterrupted time at home, and then teaching your children to do the same with each other. Allow the Lord to fill you with vision for how your family can become a blessing to many in the future.

Don’t be weary in well doing

LovesActionsAudio1If you’re new to the Lifestyle of Learning™ message or if you have a home full of young children, I want you to be encouraged that your family’s journey toward wonderful unity, harmony, and teamwork is found in these every day activities of leading your children into managing your home with you, addressing your attitudes and their attitudes and the quality of their work, while stopping to respond rightly to misunderstandings and foibles, and coming to live a life bigger than yourself as you lead your children to do the same.

Blessings on your journey sweet Moms!

~ Barbie

P.S. I wanted to remind you of the Love’s Actions audio seminars. These seminars give very practical messages on encouraging loving relationships within your family. You can find an introductory special here.

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