"I can do it myself." We have all heard those words (usually said in a less than pleasant tone at a less than pleasant volume). We all seem to have an innate need to be independent.
I think Americans are more prone to having independent natures than a lot of places in the world. Our culture is steeped in the historical lore of men and women who came to this country and made something of themselves with nothing but hard work and determination. While this trait is good in many ways, it can also be isolating.
Because we are so determined to do things on our own and not rely on anyone else, we can unintentionally cut ourselves off from fellowship with others. We all need community. We need people we can rely on when things get tough. And we need people who can simply share our lives with us.
Too often, our kids get caught up in a "my way or the highway" attitude, which alienates their friends and leads to someone stomping off mad. Put four kids in a room, and I guarantee that it won't take long for one of them to get upset because the other ones won't do something that she wants to do.
Today's installment of our summer adventure is going to focus on the importance of working together and respecting others. Our verses for the week are Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
To make the point that we need one another, we're going to do a task that isn't a whole lot of fun. I'm going to dump a bunch of Legos on the floor and make the girls pick out all the blue pieces. Now, we have a lot of Legos in this house, so the task is going to seem daunting. But with six girls, they should make short work of the job.
We'll talk about how working together made that overwhelming task seem easier. If we have any frustrations with each other, we'll talk about how to resolve them so we can all work toward the same goal.
When the girls are done, we're going to talk about how God wants us to work together for Him. I'll give each of the girls three pieces of yarn. We'll see how easy it is to break a strand of yarn all by itself. Then we'll twist two pieces together and try to break that. We'll braid three pieces together and try to break that. The braided piece should be strong enough that we won't be able to pull it apart.
We'll talk about how when we add God to the mix in our relationships, we create a bond that is not easily broken. We'll talk about how when we have disagreements with our friends, we need to think about what God would want us to do in that situation. And we'll hit on the importance of taking those issues to God in prayer.
Our featured child for the day is my youngest daughter. I'm going to take them all ice skating tomorrow, but today, we're going to do one of my daughter's other favorite things: cooking. We'll make cupcakes, and everyone will get a chance to read part of the recipe and add some ingredients. When we've finished making the cupcakes, we'll talk about how all the different ingredients worked together to create a yummy cupcake, just like we need to work together to accomplish God's plans.
Before they leave today, I pray these girls will have a better understanding of their need for each other and the importance of working together.