Do you ever wish your kids were grateful all the time? I wrote this poem after a frustrated parenting moment! Writing it helped me realise that being grateful comes out of a heart that understands, what it is to go without.
Having the heart of our Father God, as a parent, means loving our kids enough to allow them to experience enough, see enough and know enough to find true gratitude in their own hearts.
Sometimes we try to cushion our kids’ experiences. I hope, I never need to go as far as I went in this poem, but I no longer have second thoughts, about making my kids do significant work around the house, or share the X-box without complaint, nor am I without hope for them when they make poor choices or things go terribly wrong in their lives. Our God is a God who can turn any situation around. He is always working for the good of those who love him.
The Boy Who Lost His Thank You.
Little Frank became a brat
He yelled for this and screamed for that.
He lost his thank you and did naught
But break the toys his parents bought.
He did not care for anyone.
He rarely ever saw the sun.
His father, truly loved the boy
But saw that he had lost his joy.
One day, when Frank refused to help,
He left a note upon the shelf,
Packed their bags, and Frankie’s brother,
Two small sisters, and his mother,
Into the car and drove away.
Frank didn’t notice anyway.
That night he screamed and yelled for food,
(What he said was very rude)
But not a sound came from above.
He went upstairs and found the note, “With love …
“Our darling boy, I’m sad to say,
That we have had to go away.
I hope this lesson, Darling Frank,
Will be more useful than a spank.
We’ve gone to live in Manners Land,
It’ll be a shock I understand,
But come to find us when you’re ready.
Take your time, remember, slow and steady.
“Manner’s Land? There’s no such place!
He might as well say Outer Space.
They’re both impossible to visit.
But really, wow! This is exquisite.
Parents gone! Haha and Yes!
They’ve taken Charlie, Fran and Bess.
I’m on my own at last!” he cried,
“And he’s left 100 bucks inside!
It’s party time at Frankie’s place.
Enjoy your time in Outer Space!
Come on over, mates from school
We’ll eat some junk and use the pool!”
But after a week of chips for dinner,
He noticed he was getting thinner.
As tends to be, it wasn’t long,
Before the money … and friends … were gone.
He sat and wondered, the little slob,
Should he go and get a job?
So, off he went to Prosperity lane,
But doors were shut again and again.
“What are you good at?” ” I don’t know,
“X-box? Sleeping, Watching shows?”
“Can you add up? Read these words?
Can you play a tune? Cook a bird?”
“There’s really nothing I can do.”
“Alright lad, then shovel poo.
There’s a dozen pigs out the back.
Just keep them clean and don’t be slack.”
Digging all day for a dollar,
With stinky hands, and sweaty collar,
Thought Frank, ‘I smell like poo, my hair is greasy
This making money is not easy!’
But for the very first time, he stuck at it.
He persevered and did not quit.
100 days, with the pigs he ate,
By the end, he was in a terrible state.
But he’d earned enough to find his folks,
And he learned much more than other blokes
“Thank you,” he said and he meant it too.
He no longer had to shovel poo!
He left, not knowing where to go,
He wandered a little, to and fro,
Then came at night to Hardship House.
There were spiders, and he heard a mouse.
The door creaked, when he pushed it in,
Making such a scary din.
‘Empty,’ he thought, when noone came,
And as it had begun to rain,
He found himself a corner where
He fell asleep, upon a chair.
In the morning when he awoke,
Hoping it was some awful joke,
He searched his pockets for the money
Thinking, ‘No this isn’t funny!’
But someone had pinched it, in the night,
While he was asleep, and couldn’t fight.
Poor Frankie wept for what he’d lost,
For now he knew, how much it cost.
He sold his shoes, to eat that day,
And wandered, further and further away.
He came at last to Poverty Place,
With blistered feet and dirty face.
But there, he saw a child freezing,
And gave his coat to stop her sneezing.
“Hello,” he heard, “You look cold
Here’s food, although it’s rather old.”
“Please may I stay?”
“Of course, you may!
There’s enough for us to share,
And a blanket. There’s room to spare!”
Frank looked at the pair.
We live out here with all the others.”
He looked around the cardboard slum.
Lots of kids, “But where’s your mum?”
“We don’t have one, and no Dad.
Don’t look like that, it’s not so bad.
We’ve got our dog ‘Brick’, and a pretty big box.
We’ve both got T-shirts, and some socks,
We’ve got a bucket, and some wire,
And two matches left, to start a fire.
We’ll go out and find some sticks.
You stay here, warm up with Brick.”
“Thank you,’ said Frank, “for being kind.
I’m grateful you’d leave your pup behind.”
Around the bucket, late that night,
Their faces red in the firelight,
Frank told the story of the letter,
And how he understood, much better,
What is was to be truly grateful.
He really had been rather hateful.
“But now I want to find my Dad.
If I found my family, I’d be glad.”
“Manners land? We’ve been before!
It’s over the fence, just next door.
A year ago, we knocked at the gate
But like you, we were full of hate.
Maybe now, we all could go?
See if the changes really show?”
Next morning before the sun rose high
They walked, admiring the sky,
Across the piles, up and down
Around the fence to the end of town.
The sign said, Manners Land.
The gate looked very grand.
The boys felt very humbled,
They looked at their feet and they mumbled
“Please, please can we come in?”
But who? with the biggest grin
Was running their way?
They heard him say,
“Frank! Frank! You made it, My son
Oh, I love you, I’ve missed you, come…”
“Dad, I’m sorry…..”
“Frank my boy.”
And Frankie’s heart was filled with Joy!
And those boys were thankful, all their lives,
The trip to Manners Land had made them wise.
The Boy Who Lost HIs Thank You, Copyright 2016, Lauren Macdonald
Be encouraged, be blessed today.
Lots of Love,
© Lauren Macdonald. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauren Macdonald @ http://godhelpmei.com