Taking turns: not just for toddlers


(Photo courtesy of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, PBS dot org)

My little family has been practicing the concept of “Taking Turns” a lot lately. I am really quite astonished at how this should be applied to so many more situations than just  kids fighting over the laser mouse toy that drives the cat wild. We all need to take turns.

Are you a giver or a taker? Do you give more advice than you take?  Do you give more lectures than taking the lesson?  Do you give your friends an earful more than taking turns and letting them vent for a change?

Do you have to win every argument with your spouse? Are you choosing your side of the family to spend time with over his side…again?  Are you the ringleader in your small group and plan all of the events?

In your phase of downsizing, is it just everyone else’s belongings that are getting donated, sold, or trashed?  Are you in a rut with recipes and sick of deciding what to make?

To all of these I say, “Take turns.”

If you are a taker, be a giver. Resist the urge to report first about your life. Bite your tongue when wanting to “one-up” your friend’s story. I know you can, but don’t do it this time. If you are a giver, try being a taker once in awhile.  Think of what you talk about with your friends. Ask about them and give them the spotlight. If you are normally the sounding board, tell them a story about you for a change. Ask for prayers for yourself instead. Take turns.

When you know you are right, but it is not that big of a deal…take turns. Tell your spouse you love them and don’t insist on getting the last word in. Let them have a turn at being right.   Take turns about who you spend the next holiday with. Make it someone you haven’t seen in a long time or invite someone who is alone. Take turns in letting your kids decide who the next batch of cookies is for. Who, in their minds, do they want to bless?

If you are the planner of your friends or small group, step back and let them know you want to give someone else a turn at deciding what to do. In your bible study when you want to answer or tell a story, keep quiet this time. Take turns and let the quiet ones come forward. (If you are quiet long enough, someone else will speak).

Take turns at cleaning out closets and look in a mirror – that person has a lot of excess, too. It’s not just about too many toys. It’s expired makeup, 25 jars of candles, clothes that don’t fit, and shoes that hurt.

Take turns at being the creative genius behind dinner. Let each member of the family decide what’s for dinner one night. Then just make it. Trying to decide what to make is much harder than actually making it.
Take turns. Give and take. What can you do in the next week to take turns? It’s important for toddlers to know that we all can get our turn. It teaches patience and treasuring the time when it’s our turn. There is a time to celebrate it being our turn, and then we get to bless someone else when it’s their turn. It shouldn’t always be about us or about it being our turn forever.

With what, this week, are you going to take turns?


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