Monday, February 15, 2010

Hail to the Chief

If you’ve ever run the gauntlet of potty training, you know that, for a time, all things revolve around the bathroom. That sets the scene for today’s President’s Day post.

In early 2005, the whole household attempted to advance Jot from his diaper-clad derriere to a Hanes-covered heiney. Jewel (aged 4) and Justice (aged 8) tried bribery by candy and books, teasing, impromptu demonstrations, cheerleading, and sticker charts. All was for naught—Jot knew what to do and how to do it, but just wasn’t interested in joining the ranks of those wearing “big boy britches.”

Then Jewel got an idea—she would appeal to the innate sense we all have for wanting to belong. She declared that all of us in the family—except Jot—were members of the Pee & Poop Club. I found this rather amusing. Justice found it down-right hilarious. My husband, when he heard about it, inquired as to whether the Disney princesses were also part of the club. “No,” said Jewel, “they are not. Princesses don’t belong to clubs like that.” Jot didn’t care whether he was part of any club or not. He liked his droppy drawers just fine, thank-you-very-much.

That evening when I talked on the phone with my mom, I filled her in on the new club forming in our home. Jewel said to tell Grandma “hi” and that she was invited to be part of our club whenever she visited. I wondered if I would be expected to come up with snacks and keep track of minutes for our club meetings. I reasoned that I didn’t have time for that. I was, after all, in the middle of potty training!

I sought to pass the buck. “Who is the president of the Pee & Poop Club?” I wondered aloud.

No answer. (Some things on TV cause children to be unable to hear the high pitched sound of their mother’s voice.)

“Who is the president of the club?”


“Jewel! Who is the president?”

“Huh? Oh. George Dubbya.”

That day I learned two important lessons from Jewel. The first is that we all want to belong. No matter our age or what we have accomplished, we all want to be part of a group of people who accept us. That can be a strong motivator—either positive or negative—in my life and the life of my kids.

The other lesson I learned is that our kids are listening. Whether we think they are or not. Whether we think they understand or not. When I talk on the phone to a friend while they color at the table—they hear. When I whisper to my husband in the front seat of the car—they take it in. When I watch TV or listen to the radio—they absorb what’s playing. When I speak to the cashier at the store—they are registering too. Are the things they are hearing and seeing beneficial to them? Will those things make them into the adults I pray they’ll be? Or are they learning to judge or to gossip or to disrespect authority by my words and actions? I must do everything I can to point them to the greatest Commander in Chief.

23"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble…33For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10: 23, 31-33.


  1. Hi Nikki -

    I'm passing along a Sunshine Award to you! Stop by my blog to pick it up!

  2. Thanks, Karin! And I love the cozy winter theme on your blog right now.