My daughter told me last night that I’m lazy, and that mommy does all the work, and that she’s a princess to be served.
Now before you start thinking that she’s a brat and was being horribly disrespectful, she was being playful with us — but I’m observant enough to know that such comments are usually rooted in some underlying mix of truth, emotion, and perspective.
And when I asked what she meant, she explained that mommy is always on her feet working, but all I do is sit at a desk on the computer all the time. And it stung a bit when she said it, even though she wasn’t saying it to hurt me. And part of me wanted to get offended and “set her straight”, but part of me thought about what she SEES and how that is more powerful than anything I could SAY from a self defensive posture.
Maybe she’s right, I thought to myself. What is the example I’m showing her by coming home, absolutely worn out from work and from so little sleep to the point that I don’t feel like doing much once I’m home? What is the example I am showing her with time spent sitting down so much, even if I’m in the Word, or studying, or counseling someone via text, etc. How often or infrequently does she see me on my feet actually working hard?
It is a sobering thought — and it is especially brought into light when someone else near you is so clearly and obviously working hard. I don’t envy my wife for her strength, and I don’t want her to do less so that I won’t appear so weak and lazy in my daughter’s eyes.
But I do say “appear so weak and lazy”, because I am neither weak nor lazy. I work very hard. I am a top producer at my job. I try to help others the chances that I can. I study and pray and try to provide good counsel and helpful service to my family, my friends, and my community. But I am being outshined by my wife — flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone — the woman I love. And it encourages me, because she is a Proverbs 31 woman, and she spurs me on to be a better man.
And it was her that corrected my daughter and told her that daddy works hard, and I think she might have meant it — even if she too knows there’s some innocent honesty in what Mia has pieced together from her limited perspective.
Garth Brooks has a song that I believe honors my wife in my humble recognition of her strength:
I don’t use the song as an excuse to not lead my family, as an excuse to actually be lazy, but as a reminder that we are in this together and that I need to honor her and Mia with my hard work, with everything that I do — and in doing that, I am honoring God.
I’m reminded of these eyes from scripture specifically:
But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
1 Timothy 5:8 NLT
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Colossians 3:23 NLT
Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!
Proverbs 14:23 NLT
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Proverbs 31:10-29 NLT