It’s a happy picture, isn’t it?
Notice the facial expressions of those kids in the wagon. Delighted, aren’t they?
Who wouldn’t enjoy a free ride? All you’ve got to do is climb on board and enjoy the scenery. You’re not responsible for where you’re going, how long it takes to get there, or how much it costs.
But what if the wagon in the photo had two teenagers and a grown man in it and the woman was still trying to pull it? The faces of the riders would still be smiling and happy because they’re getting to be like children – no responsibilities.
However, the expression on the woman’s face would look quite different.
I have seen lots of women through the years who, in a figurative sense, are pulling their family’s wagon all by themselves. They are working full time, buying the groceries, fixing the meals, paying the bills, arranging for repairmen to take care of maintenance on the vehicles and house, washing and folding everyone’s clothes, checking homework, going alone to parent-teacher conferences, and attending the children’s events by herself. The expression on the faces of these women is a dog-tired, worry-etched look. They are exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And they are upset because they can’t get the wagon to go anywhere.
Sometimes the expression on these women’s faces is a squint-eyed, teeth-gritting one. They are so angry I’m afraid the top of their head is going to blow off and lava is going to fill my office. They talk of being fed up with their family’s laziness. But guess what? All the time they are angry, they still have hold of that wagon handle and are pulling with all their might.
It’s a trap that’s easier to fall into than you might think. Maybe you are there yourself. You want the best for your family. You have a vision of what each of them could do, if they applied themselves. The sky’s the limit as far as you are concerned regarding their potential. In the absence of male leadership, you step into the void to try and show your family the way. “Surely,” you reason, “if I can just get them to see the possibilities, they will all jump right in and help me.”
The flaw in your method is that you allowed your family to remain in a child-like state of dependence on you. They have zero motivation to change because you have made their way of life too smooth.
The answer to this situation is painfully simple and simply painful. “Quit pulling the wagon by yourself.” What that will mean is that both you and your family are going to become very uncomfortable. That’s because that’s the nature of change, even positive change.
When you stop pulling the wagon, your family is going to wonder what got into you. They may howl and beg. If they do, that will be a good sign. It’s the first step toward change.
Moms and wives, your anger and fatigue are a signal that you need to listen to.
No one can make your changes for you.
Nothing will change until you do.