Yesterday, a doting uncle bought Ethel her favourite jackfruit, so when the kids (P5 Ethel & her P4 cousin who's now in my care) finished their assigned work, I took out the jackfruit from the fridge and announced it's their reward.
"I don't like jackfruit; give me another reward," said the cousin. Ethel and Calder ate the jackfruit. Then I took out a pack of minty M&Ms that a friend gave me. "I don't eat minty M&Ms; give me another reward," said the cousin. Calder and Ethel savoured the M&Ms. I asked the cousin if he wanted to eat hash brown and he said yes. When the hash browns were ready from the air-fryer, I announced, "So here's your reward!" Cousin replied, "How is it a reward when everybody gets it?" "But I offered the jackfruit to everyone too," I reasoned. Cousin exclaimed, "Even those who didn't work for it!" Oh, so he was pointing to Calder. There was one hash brown left and since Calder was the biggest eater of us all, I automatically gave it to him. "Why does he get to have 2 pieces?" questioned the cousin. "Because he might get hungry," I explained, "Do you want another one? I can do another one for you." "Nope." But when he was out of the kitchen, I heard him chanting to himself, "Give me my reward, give me my reward."
After the cousin had left, I discussed this with Ethel and was astonished when she told me she used to feel the same way - why Calder gets the same reward when he didn't work for it. I told her maybe Calder's reward is for sitting nicely by himself when I was busy with her studies. Maybe he is being rewarded for not throwing a tantrum over being neglected.
Truth is: I cannot imagine not giving Calder what I openly give his sister. He wouldn't understand why. He would just feel sad, I think, for not being loved the same way.
"Should I be rewarded for sitting nicely?" ventured Ethel. I figured, "Different people gets rewarded for different things, and these are things that are more difficult for them. Actually, it's not that Calder doesn't want to do these things. It's that he cannot do them." "Yah, I thought so too," said Ethel, "That's why I never complain."
At bedtime, Ethel prayed that Calder wouldn't feel neglected. Time stood still for me then. Oh, blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Mathew 5: 8).