Hi, Mom, I’ve got a great thought to share with you today!
My husband, James, does an object lesson for kids we moms can learn from. He arranges ingredients on a table: sugar, sand, marbles, ping-pong balls, a few big rocks, and an empty peanut butter jar. He asks the kids, “Do you think I can fit all these items into the peanut butter jar?” He begins with the sugar, sand, and marbles. By the time the ping-pong balls are added, there is no room in the jar for the rocks.
So he pours everything out, and this time he begins with the big rocks first, followed by the ping-pong balls. Then he pours in the marbles, sugar, and sand. Now it all fits! He explains to the kids when you put the big rocks in first—things like praying, reading the Bible, doing chores, finishing homework—then you have time for the extras in life like riding bikes or watching movies.
As moms, we need to put the big rocks in first. We can put out fires and respond to texts, which seem urgent at the time, while ignoring what’s truly important. Slowly, we grow complacent toward Bible reading. We place our children ahead of our spouses. We let our health slip.
What does every flight attendant instruct us to do? Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. Mom, don’t ignore that oxygen mask dangling in front of you. Take care of yourself so you can care for your family. Making healthy choices isn’t selfish.
Notice the motivation. You don’t take care of yourself to escape or look gorgeous for your selfie. You do it to serve others. Putting the big rocks in first involves determining what’s really important as a mom.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden says,
Take a moment and draw a circle around the following personal characteristics that you possess: confidence, poise, imagination, initiative, tolerance, humility, love, cheerfulness, faith, enthusiasm, courage, honesty, serenity.
I hope you circled them all because all are within each of us. It is simply up to us to bring them out.
Go ahead. Circle the characteristics you possess and underline the ones you want to increase in your mom life. These virtuous characteristics aren’t handed out at birth. They are mined by use and effort, the hard work of personal development that the growth mindset encourages. For example, if you’d like to become more confident, you can place yourself in situations that boost your confidence, whether that’s singing a solo or joining a moms group.
Adopting new positive attitudes and changing behaviors can be overwhelming. Like working on a one-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, you may feel utterly lost and think your efforts are pointless. But how do you put a puzzle together? One piece at a time, starting with the easiest first. Don’t try to become more patient, scream less, cook more, finish projects you start, and start a neighborhood Bible study all in one morning. Start with one improvement at a time and then build on your success.
May God bless you in your journey toward self-improvement!
Arlene Pellicane is an author and speaker who formerly served as a features reporter for The 700 Club and associate producer for Turning Point Television with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in a happy home in San Diego with her husband and their three kids.