Recently my 8 year old daughter, who is an enthusiastic ‘ideas girl’, came to me and asked if we could play a round of Secret Agents.
The game involves placing the name of everyone in the home in a hat, and each person draws a name out (if they draw their own name they have to put it back in and redraw until they get someone else’s name). You then become that person’s secret agent for the week.
Your mission is to do good things for that person in secret. It might be doing someone’s chore or making someone’s bed for them. It might be surprising them with a flower from the garden or something you know that they have been wanting. It must be done in secret though.
At the end of the week you draw the game to an end by choosing a time to reveal the identity of the Secret Agents.
The game began and the first thing I noticed was my 7 year old son enthusiastically emptying the bath room bin. (I checked, he appeared to be entirely healthy and not suffering from a mystery illness of any sort.)
Then I watched as another child quickly raced into a sibling’s bedroom to make their bed for them without being discovered.
The positive suspense was a lovely thing to sense in the atmosphere of our home as the children went around trying to secretly do good.
Playing Secret Agents raised a few other points too, and not all of them were entirely welcome at the time.
One child was concerned that it wouldn’t be fair if some people decided to not do anything good. This provided an opportunity for us to talk about how we need to love other people regardless of how they treat us in return, and the Golden Rule of treating others how we would like to be treated.
We also talked about how we need to love others because of what they are worth (priceless), not because of what they deserve.
Then there was me. I drew my husband’s name – my husband who I already do many, many things for, and now this game was asking me to do more. I’m not proud of this but the ugly truth is that I wasn’t too impressed and I didn’t really want to do anything extra for him that week. Not pretty huh?
Nevertheless I put my mind to coming up with extra things I could do to bless him. Now, I don’t want you thinking I’m some saint, because you surely would be mistaken if you did, but I folded a basket of his clothes for him that he would usually do for himself. I shared some of my recently gifted birthday treats and snuck them into his work bag for him to find later. I ironed shirts and placed a manly scented deodoriser in his side of the wardrobe seeing as I was being extra nice (hey! it’s the little things… ). I did some of his chores on his behalf and I also made the choice to be patient and loving when I wasn’t exactly feeling it.
Somewhere in the middle of Secret Agent week I had an unwelcomed thought: How much better would life be if we lived as though we were always playing this game?
Then…bah humbug… I had another unwelcomed thought ☹:
Each day, people in my life show me kindness by doing good things for me but I don’t always stop to notice. I’m not always thankful. In fact it is easy to take good things for granted and only focus on the perceived lack in life rather than life’s bountiful goodness.
By the way, this is probably a good time to tell you that my husband routinely does many good and kind things for me on a daily basis that I am really grateful for – when I stop to remember. Eep! Good reminder. Lesson learnt. :S.
I encourage you to sit for a moment and consider all the kindness that is shown to you on a daily basis. Those small things that make a difference, those things in your life that you can be grateful for. Make a list, count your blessings, then use that to motivate you to step out and do one extra little good thing for someone today (and perhaps again tomorrow).
Little did I know that agreeing to my daughter’s latest request for a family activity would cause me to consider so many things. I’m grateful, though, for her being an ‘ideas girl’ and for the insight that playing Secret Agents brought to me.
Now it’s your turn :). Pop back in and let me know how you went.