Friday afternoon, Grace was in the kitchen with me, making her birthday cake for her party on Saturday. I was making dinner.
Lily pulled over a stool (as always). "Not this time, Lily," I said. "This is Grace's turn because it's for her birthday. You can help next time."
"It's okay, Mommy," Grace said. "I want her to help." And she immediately set Lily to work.
A few minutes later, Josiah pulled up a stool. Once again, she graciously included him. Everybody had a job. She was calm. She was patient. She was kind.
And I was humbled by my nine-year-old. My kids love helping in the kitchen, but I get easily frazzled. I usually can only handle one at a time. Sometimes I can't handle even one. Sometimes I don't have the patience. Sometimes I have a hard time letting go of things I want done right.
Yet my daughter is an includer. There is always room for one more, as far as she is concerned. She is the best big sister I have ever seen. She has never once shunned her siblings (who are not always so easy to get along with). She is a peacemaker. She is almost always cheerful.
Her friends came over for her party yesterday, and she made the cake, and she planned the games. But my proudest moment came when all the girls were dancing, and two of the shyer ones sat on the side. Grace ran over, grabbed their hands, and pulled them into the group. I had tears in my eyes. She always includes.
Of course, she too has areas in her life where she needs God's grace. But her genuine love for people, and her patience and friendliness, is where she is the example for me.