Philippians 2:4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Flashback – Friday night I am getting ready to head off for bed. Sara and I discuss the plan for Saturday and I express MY (hint: foreshadowing) desire to get up, get some breakfast for the kids at the local bakery, head to the park in the city square, take everyone out to lunch, maybe do some hiking, and then do a nice dinner out. Basically just enjoy our first Saturday in Brasov with no responsibilities and to get to really savor the people, the city, and the food. Sara likes this idea and we agree to proceed, after sleeping of course.
Back to real time now – nope, my plans will not happen. To be sure, I did get up and Luci and I took a nice stroll down Strada Lungi to look into the bakery. It was not yet open so we continued on a ways and got to check out some other sights before we made the u-turn back. As usual Luci was her chipper self. Her energy is infectious and hard to match but worth the effort. We got back to the shop only to find the closed sign still hung in the door despite it being after 8. I encouraged Luci to give the door a try, after all who says no to an adorable 6 year old, and sure enough the proprietor came hurriedly over to ensure entry.
As has been the case all along here we were greeted first with Romanian. I smiled and said “Good Morning” as clear as possible and then asked if she spoke English. Alina, as it turns out, did. She immediately took a liking to Lucia as we ordered our breakfast rations of chocolate and vanilla cakes, an eclair, and a cream cheese danish. Not exactly the breakfast I had in mind but I thought the kids wouldn’t mind having dessert for breakfast. A few double espressos for Sara and me and then we were off for home.
Breakfast went as planned though I was a little surprised at the lack of enthusiasm over having dessert. Are my children really becoming that responsible that they were disappointed to not get yogurt and muesli? Oh well, we ate up and then I headed into the other room to await our departure for fun and frolic in Brasov.
Then it happened. My children looked at their own interests and not the interests of others, namely me and Sara. Sara had asked them to turn off their tablets and to get ready to head out. This happened on four occasions and each time I could hear her getting more and more aggravated as the kids continued to ignore her request and to play. Finally she became irate at their lack of listening and respect and grounded them for the day to their rooms. After a very upsetting Friday they were once again being disrespectful and not listening. This punishment was swift and significant. And it also meant no more park time, leisurely lunch, and no delicious meal out.
As I sit here typing this, after we had a very nice homemade meal (Mexican food by the way, or at least a Romanian approximation), I realize that I put myself before them this morning. My plan was to take everyone out for a nice day to play etc but I realize that I never asked them if that is what they needed. All along Sara and I have tried to remind our kids that our service is to provide others what they need, not what we want to give them. As such, I realize that my plan for the day may have been nice in my opinion, but may not have been what the kids wanted or needed. Moreover, I put Sara in a terrible spot having to enforce my desires. In retrospect I wanted to go out as much or more than I thought the kids would. I should have taken the time to ask them if that would work for them and perhaps, if it wasn’t, a compromise could have been met to ensure we all got what we needed for the day. Instead we had undue suffering, frustration, and a missed opportunity.
My hope is tomorrow that I will awake reminded that I want to put the interests of others first but more importantly to ask them what those interests are. In the end I might have learned that what my kids really wanted and needed all along was not a nice meal out but rather just a heartfelt attempt at Mexican cuisine.