Anyone can find the dirt in someone.
Be the one that finds the gold.
4 years for a bachelor’s degree in psychology, 3 years in graduate school for Licensed Professional Counseling and none of it prepared me to handle the events that occurred in my family over spring break. Punches were thrown, tears were spilled, words were thrown like grenades… and I’m pretty sure some blood was spilled. I had officially entered the stage of parenting when I found myself at a loss on how to get my 6-year-old daughter, Minka and 3-year-old son, Cooper to get along. It’s like a switch was flipped overnight and suddenly the only way to interact was to throw nasty words at each other like a slap across the face.
So I took a leap of faith and played a game with my oldest, Minka.
She woke up at 5 a.m. and walked out into the dark of the living room. I immediately swept her up with a hug, smiled wide and talked with the most enthusiastic voice I could muster at that time of the day. I told her we were going to go on a treasure hunt. But that the treasure could only be found in people. Specifically in her little brother. And we were going to see who could find the most gold in Cooper. I explained what the treasure might look like-
When Cooper is angry but doesn’t hit you- ding, ding, ding!!! That’s called self-control.
When he moves over and lets you sit by him to watch cartoons on the couch- ding, ding, ding!!! Kindness.
When he tackles you at the bus stop before you leave for school and he squeezes you until you scream- ding! That’s called brotherly love, Minka.
My favorite thing about kids is that they can jump on board wholeheartedly to the simplest of ideas.
And Minka was All. In.
Cooper hadn’t even been awake 5 minutes when I heard it, “Ding! Ding!!! DING!!!!!”
I instantly ran to where they were and Minka began to rattle off everything positive about her brother. Cooper’s eyes lit up, he crossed his arms proudly over his chest and stood up tall as he listened to his big sister call out the treasure in him.
“Oh yeah mom, I a big boy ya know!”
That’s who he is. And when Minka spoke to the treasure in her brother, it began to rise up as he brushed his own dirt away without any lecture, consequences or threats from his mom.
The atmosphere has completely changed in our family since that day. What started out as a simple game to have my kids get along better has become a beautiful way of seeing and being in our home. Minka plays treasure hunter at school and jumps off the bus every day excited to tell me all the good things she saw in her friends. In the tense moments before a tantrum erupts I find myself saying, “Coop… this is not who you are”. He instantly snaps out of his rage and eagerly awaits for me to shower him with words of affirmation and to remind him who he is. “Coop, you are kind and you are strong. I love you so much, buddy.”
And when I’m about to freak out and yell at them to stop yelling? I think of the times they have spoken to the treasure in me and I remind myself that the exhaustion, stress, loneliness and frustration I am about to verbally vomit out onto my kids… is not who I am.
When we speak to the treasure in people it begins to rise up. We don’t need to continually lecture about the dirt because when we speak to the treasure, they want to see it for themselves. So it begins to rise up. That’s who they want to be anyway.
I love my kids unconditionally. But it’s not always easy to speak to the treasure in them because I don’t always have the eyes to see it. Often times I’m too busy thinking of how their actions reflect on me and what people will think or say about me as a mom.
And it’s even harder to speak to the treasure in that annoying coworker, that bossy friend, nosey neighbor, the high maintenance family member or that person that hurt us. It’s hard to see people through the eyes of grace… because often we don’t even know how to see ourselves that way.
We label ourselves and believe the lie that what we do determines who we are. Divorced, addicted, overweight, unemployed, single or married. And while these things explain us, they do not define us.
When we can see ourselves through the eyes of grace, we begin to see the treasure. As it begins to rise we brush the dirt away and we live in the power of that truth. The truth that sets us free to see past the dirt in others and speak to the gold.
We all have the opportunity to speak life into others every. single. day.
To speak to the precious and not the worthless.
To show grace. First to ourselves and then to others.
To be the most encouraging people on the planet and change the atmosphere around us.
To be wholeheartedly in and choose…
to become treasure seekers.
In His grip,