Saturday, 7 May 2016

Painting Pots

I know a lady who paints pots. Ceramic pots that you might plant pretty flowers in for the garden. They have beautiful designs and colours, and some are quite intricate. If you like gardens, you would probably like one.

She also has a son, around the ages of my children. A long-awaited only child. She works from home so she can spend more time with him. But for the past few weeks, during school break, the boy has seemed quite lost, a bit bored and doesn't seem to have had much social interaction. We were round the other evening. The boy was watching a cartoon, jumping from glass-topped coffee table to sofa, and eating sweets. There were no adults in sight, but I found them in a side room, painting pots. Like I said, beautiful pots.

Everything in me wanted to point out (vociferously) that she was entirely missing the point, and that her son was lacking in discipline and attention and getting into all kinds of bad habits whilst she was painting pots! I didn't. After a while I took my tribe home and gave them dinner.

But I have been challenged. What are the 'pots' in my life? What are the things that consume my time and energy, but which have no lasting value? Sometimes it can be so much easier to see the futility of a particular task in somebody else. To see a bad habit in somebody else. But we are all fallible human beings, and I am sure we all have 'pots' in our lives. Good things perhaps, things that have a clear end-product and beautiful output, but which are trivial compared to the eternal value of instilling character and discipline into our children.

What might a 'pot' look like? I suppose if I am honest, what I like about 'pots' is that there is something clear to show and be proud of at the end of the day. Parenting, home educating, walking the Christian walk, seeking to share one's faith and encourage others - how often do these things have tangible, 'I did that!' results at the end of the day? In ten, twenty, forty years time, what things that I have done today will I remember? What tasks from this year will have lasting value? Will I wish I had put down my 'paintbrush' and spent time with people, particularly my children, at the time when it has been needed most?

What things in your life would an outsider with an eternal perspective look at and say, 'Why are you doing that?'

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