This has been a very challenging past few days for me. I have had the girls living with me, and I haven't been sleeping. Along with that, it's just very challenging to have this many people in this house. Everywhere I turn there is garbage and other people's belongings thrown everywhere- it's hard to have your space being used, your things being used... right down to your soap and towel. It makes you want to grab stuff and put it in a pile and guard it... this is MY stuff. In addition to that, there is more garbage piling up (people often don't use garbage cans here, they seem to feel that the ground is sufficient) and dirty clothes are hung and strewn everwhere so now we are infested with hundreds of flies. I am trying to remember that everything I have is not my own, and be as giving as possible. The lack of sleep has made me irritable.
Yestarday I told Emma, Richard and Mwansa I'd take them swimming. Just us, since everyone else has been able to go when we are in school. We got out there and got in, and Mwapalo and Nikolas showed up. They cannot swim and I already told them that this was a special time for the four of us, and it was our turn. They refused to leave and said they'd just "watch". Soon their feet were in, then legs and they were standing in the water. I told them to hop out and please obey, and Nikolas decided to just jump in, fully clothed. I told him to get out, and that was very disrespectful and blatant disobediance. Just then their mother came and said "Who told them they could get in!?" Just as I was trying to explain that I told them NOT to get in.... she was saying "Well if you're going to swim then go get your suits on..." then told me that they couldn't swim and I'd have to watch them. I There went my swim, I was then stuck in the baby pool holding and watching the kids the rest of the time, when I had planned to be swimming with E, R, and M. I checked myself and realized this was selfish, and that I should let them swim with us if they wanted to. I regretted that. The more I said "do not" about anything, the more they did. I told them 6 times not to touch the hose, and they were spraying eachotehr and putting it in their mouth. I told them not to roughhouse and splash and it started a splashing war. I told them not to fight over the goggles and heard nothing but fights for the next 20 minutes. I told Nikolas not to jump in, because he was hurting himself and everyone else, and he just got out and jumped in again- looking right at my face and laughing. I tried to be patient, knowing that they are all going through a rough time, but finally I was done with it all. I told them all to get out and three of them looked at me and said "No." .... I wanted to just get out and go home and leave them. It was the most fed up I'd been all week... and I've been pretty frustrated this week. I finally got them all out and asked them to all look at me. I asked them how many times did I tell you not to touch the hose? Now raise your hand if you touched it. How many times did I ask you not to fight over goggles or roughhouse? Raise your hand if you did. I continued with about 5 more questions then told them. For these reasons, we will not be swimming again this week. Most of them did not talk to me for the rest of the day and told me I was "mean" and made them "sad" (If they only knew how "mean" they were being to me....)
School has been rough. It has been slowly getting more and more out of hand. I have had talk after talk about obedience and respect. I've read bible verses, I've prayed with them... I've given examples and we've talked about it.... and day after day they've (richard especially) been giggling, talking when I'm talking, fighting, arguing, yelling.... just plain being rude. We can't get anything done when it's like that. Yesterday I had a big talk with them and told them exacly how i felt and how they were behaving. I told them they were gonna be sent home each time they acted up until they got it under control. I spent the last 15 minutes of class talking about respect, and how to treat others and especially your teacher... It was a long time coming and I was pointed and stern. Richard said "Miss Kat, you are chili... chili burns your mouth... the things you are saying are burning me on the inside." The truth hurts so that we do something about it. If it felt good to our conscience, we wouldn't have any reason to change.
Today was not any better. I was talking to Megan and James during break and both of them have told me- Kat, it's time. You're gonna have to send someone home so they know you are serious. It's easy to make the threats but I hate confrontation and don't want to have arguments among us.... As soon as we got back from break, Richard was back at it again, so I told him to leave for the day. He got angry and started telling me No, and that he'd be good. I told him I gave him too many chances and it was too late- he could try again tomorrow. He refused to leave. I had to go get Maureen and drag her into it and she got him to go home, crying and fuming angry. Mwansa then got angry at me for sending him home, and was frowning and barely talking. She continued to do her work, but with a nasty attitude. I told her because she wasn't being disruptive she could stay, but that she needed her attitude turned around before she came back to class this afternoon.
I am very encouraged at the work they are accomplishing, but their behavior is going downhill- part of it is because of our living arrangements, and the addition of Nikolas and Mwapalo (who are EXTREMELY misbehaved) and part of it is my own fault in letting it get this bad.
I have also been thinking about my time here, and the time I've been given on earth to do God's work. It's easy to be fed up with these sorts of things and want to just be cranky and depressed about it. We are told to not grow weary in well doing. This was my devotional this morning. I've been reading a book my Aunt Ruth sent me that has some great little quotes, stories and encouragements in it. I've been thinking a lot about Time. How I've spent my time in the past, and how I am spending it now.... Time is a gift. He did not need to give us any, and yet for many of us we get year upon year upon year of food, clothes, gifts, family- and most importantly, time. How we spend our time is how we give our thanks to God for his gift to us. Do we spend it on ourselves? Do we waste it making excuses? Do we let time pass us by and not do what is right before God?
Each night, before I go to sleep I think about the day. Did I spend my time laughing or crying? Yelling or smiling? Helping others or living for myself? God is paying attention to each decision we make and how we spend every second. He knows our thoughts, and no matter how much we convince ourslelves that what we are doing is a good use of time... will He agree?
Are you spending time reading the word and praying? Are you spending time cultivating Godly friendships and relationships? Are you spending your time teaching your children and raising them up in God's love? Are you ministering to others, giving to others, spending time with others or are YOU living for YOU. What a short amount of time we have to do the right thing, to see the places we want to see and to love the person we want to love. There are so many songs about time, Bible verses about time, quotes about time.... "The past has come and gone, the future's far away and right now lasts for one second. One second..."
Here is one quote from the book: " Do you love the gift of life that was given to you? Then do not squander your time... for that is all that life is made up of." Time is what we have. Breath in our lungs and blood pumping through our bodies gives us time. Time. What do you do with yours? Here is the short story.
A woman once had a dream that an angel was giving her a message. He told her that each day, 1,440 dollars would be deposited into her bank account and she could use it ANY way she wanted to, but at the end of the day, any balance left over would be cancelled. There would be no carry over and no intrest.... but each morning, a new 1,440 dollars would be deposited.
She woke up to realize that there are 1,440 minutes each day. What you do with that 1,440 minutes is important because at the end of the day, it's over. At the end of each day, we should be looking at our "ledger" to see if we spent these minutes wisely. When you use your time unwisely, great opportunities and lessons pass you by.
Time is God's gift to you, and what you do with your time is your gift to God.
Hopefully I can learn this myself, and then pass that knowlege on to the kids.