Here is something to contemplate, the youngest child and how to raise him without spoiling? him. My oldest have commented at various times that I am getting soft and that Matthew is spoiled. That I am not as firm with him as I was with them. Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. I know that personality wise he is a totally different child and that age wise I am a different person. (does that make sense?)
Anyway, last night I had reason to think about all of this as we went door to door on our street and through the town delivering plates of cookies and Christmas treats to neighbors and friends. It was icy out so Doug wouldn't let Mary-Kate or I get out at several houses. So the plan was for the two of them to trade off going to the door and leaving the plate, say a few words and wish the family a Merry Christmas. Matthew was reluctant to say the least. His first comment was that he was only going to the houses of the people that he knows. Well he knew everyone on the list so that was a useless comment. Then he was only going to the houses of those that he chose. Well, he was being a brat, may I say about the whole thing, when we made the first stop at the home of an old lady down the street. Her husband has recently been put into a nursing home. All of my boys have taken care of her in some way since she moved in down the road. From helping with the building of her house to taking care of her lawn and gardens they have done for her for all the years that she has lived in this house. Well we made Matthew go to her door because he is currently her "man of all work" since he is the only boy left at home. She had tears in her eyes when she came to the door, as she usually does. She was so thankful for the attention and the caring that the plate of cookies represented. When Matthew came back to the car he no longer made any comments about where he would go and wouldn't go. He accompanied his father to all the doors and even expressed a bit of disappointment over the houses where no one was at home.
So, maybe I am not as firm, maybe not. But my spoiled? youngest is learning important lessons that will carry him through life and I hope that the sight of this dear old lady with tears of gratitude in her eyes will stay with him for all his life. You can watch movies with touching plots and important lessons but these things are best taught with experience. I think that Matthew is more differently raised than spoiled. I think that he is benefitting from more maturity on my part that his siblings didn't enjoy and for this I am sorry.
For this reason I will continue providing Matthew with experiences like he had last evening to build his character and make him the kind of person that God expects him to be.