Tuesday, October 29, 2013

If our children responded in kind ...

Helping is important to little ones ...

When our children slip up, it's easy to pounce on the opportunity to teach some valuable life lesson we feel they should learn.  Maybe they dropped a jelly jar and it shattered and splattered sweet goo everywhere ... or they lost a library book that is now overdue ... or they broke a favorite bowl you've had since you were just a kid.  Been there, done that - and I wish I could take back some of my life lesson "lectures."  How humbling it would be if our children responded in kind every time we parents messed up!
I remember being busy in the kitchen with one of those menus when everything hits you at once -- the gravy must be stirred up while the potatoes are mashed and the rolls need to be out of the oven right *now.*  Did I mention the baby was squalling to nurse and the phone was ringing?  That's when our three year old looked up and noted aloud ...

"Mommy, you forgot to close the cabinet doors back."   

Ouch.  There they were - several doors yawning wide open while I tried to finish supper.  And, most likely thinking I would bang my head or leave all the doors open from that point on, our little dumpling reminded me to close them.  Trust me, having a child who is more organized than you are is a humbling experience.

So how do we speak to our children when they break a favorite dish or fail to finish a job or react wrongly to a situation?  Do we harp and preach at them?  Do we give a ten-minute lecture instead of a two-second reminder to remedy the wrong?   If our children responded in kind every time we messed up, we'd certainly have to eat a lot of humble pie.  

Thankfully, there is an established order in the home -- the parents are teachers, guardians and examples to their little ones.  So it behooves us to deal with their "slip-ups" patiently, just as we want others to deal with ours.  This isn't to say we should avoid pointing out those little errors that could become bigger errors and later serious problems.  

The key is to love and lead our children with compassion and kindness.  Their hearts are tender and still pliable, so we should handle them with care.  To do otherwise may crush any desire they have to offer their help or share their own ideas.  Parenting is a mind-boggling experience and challenge.  It's also a privilege and blessing... slip-ups included. 

I'm thankful the Lord is there to guide and encourage us along the way.

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