Please help my children today. My hope for them is that they learn the value and dignity of hard work, and that they learn to work with grace, cheer, and energy.
Please help them listen to my words and to respond willingly.
Please help them refrain from the evils of complaint, sulk, and self-pity.
And dear God, please help me today, to guide my children through the work that must be done. Give me the strength to refrain from beginning any sentence with "When I was a kid..." and bless me with saintly patience for cajoling my young ones into giving me the assistance I so very need from them.
You see, Lord, today I must move rocks. Literally, a huge pile of rocks. And today, Lord, my children believe in their very hearts that Spring Break means that they can play video games all day long. Today, Lord, they are laboring under the illusion that they should not be asked to lift a finger, save for the ones that carry ice cream sandwiches to their lips.
Somehow, my children and I must work together to accomplish a task, to move an insane amount of rocks, pavers, and other hardscape materials to a far corner of our garden in preparation for the garden tour this weekend, the same garden tour my children now despise with every fiber of their being, the garden tour my children equate with forced labor, lost wii-time, and the meanest parents on the planet.
Dear God, give them wisdom, that they hold their tongues from bitter, annoying complaint.
Give them strength, that they are able to lift more than one rock without collapsing on the ground, writhing in pain and giving up from the sheer exhaustion of it all.
Give them heart, that they may handle all that comes their way between now and the moment they are released to the sweet bliss of television.
And give them a mother who will somehow get through the task at hand without screaming at the heavens WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG AND WHY ARE MY CHILDREN USELESS LUMPS OF ENTITLEMENT?
Teach me, oh Lord, the mysterious ways of faith and miracle. I believe, Lord; help my unbelief. Show me the way. Show them the way. Show them that if they do not help me, so help me You, I will take away their phones, their iPods, their underwear, their stupid ice cream sandwiches, their wii-time, their movie-time, their playdates, their pinkie fingers, and their wills to live.
Make them work, Lord. Or find them another family to freeload off.