Usually, my then four year old would want to shovel with me but on that day she got bored of that task and began trampling new paths into the freshly fallen snow. She climbed to the highest snow pile on the property and began to chant, I’m the King of the Castle and you’re the dirty rascal. I didn’t even know that she knew about that game.
I smiled to myself as I continued shovelling. I smiled remembering playing that game myself on the top of the highest snowbank in Dashwood ON with some of my childhood friends. I smiled because my little four year old, wanted to be on top and to push her mother to the bottom. I smiled thinking about how much that game says about human nature.
The problem with us as human beings is that too many times, we put ourselves first at the expense of other people. We put ourselves above others in order to feel better by puffing up the good, justifying ourselves by minimizing the bad. Too often we deny that’s exactly what we are doing because it’s hard to admit to ourselves that we aren’t always the most loving or gracious people.
When we ridicule other people in the privacy of our own homes for not living their lives in the way that we do, we are attempting to climb the hill of moral superiority. When we caricature the way other people parent as negligent, strict, or too lenient, we are pushing others down the hill on our way to the top. We allow ourselves to forget the ways in which we too are imperfect.
Too often as mom and wife, I need to be right rather than in right relationship with my family. Once again I realize, that even in this small domain that I call my home, I have a lot to learn. I recognize in me that little girl standing on the top of the snowbank yelling, I’m the King of the Castle and you’re the dirty rascal, and once again I’m humbled.
Martin Luther once said that ‘we are all beggars.’ We all have strengths and weaknesses but to downplay our needs and exalt our successes while climbing up the hill of other people’s faults, all we do is alienate ourselves from one another. What we really need to do is join hands and look to Christ who gave up life at the top to meet us in the most humble place, the cattle stall.