Thursday, June 16, 2011

Um, excuse me, but didn't I just tell you not to do that?

Jamie over at Steady Mom recently wrote a very moving post about learning to think like our children.  She shares a moment that stands out to her from her own childhood and asks her readers at the end of the post whether there has been a time that we have misunderstood our own children's intentions.  If I'm honest with myself, then I have to answer that yes, I know that I have and I'm sure that it has happened more often than I've realized.

Jamie's post and question really stuck with me because I work very hard to be mindful about not projecting my own, adult interpretation of the world and experiences on my children.  Sure that Lego creation sitting in their room might not be particularly meaningful to me, but it may mean an awful lot to the child who created it.  The argument about whose turn it is to perform some task around the house may just seem like irritating background noise to me, but it may represent an issue of fairness and independence to the kids. Although I am not always successful in doing so, I try to remember that what may seem insignificant to me may be very important to my children and that they deserve for me to respect and honor what is in their hearts and minds.

As I thought about Jamie's question when I first read her post back in April, one particular incident came to mind from nearly three years ago.  For Running Man's job we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to live in Wales for about three months.  At that time E2B had just turned five, Princess Wonder was three, and Miss Intrepid was not yet one.  Just before returning to the States I managed to fit in a trip with the kids to St. Fagans, an incredible open-air museum in Cardiff.  We could easily have spent days there wandering around the many buildings (40+) that recreate a sense of Welsh life throughout history.  We only had the one day to do so and the kids and I had a grand time exploring.  When we got to the manor house, we particularly enjoyed wandering through the surrounding grounds.  As we got to the formal gardens, I had a conversation with the kids to set the expectation that we could look at, touch, and smell the flowers but that we were not to pick them.

You might have already guessed where this is going.  After just a few minutes of walking through the gardens I looked over to see Princess Wonder holding a large pink bloom in her hand.  It had already been a long day - a good day, but driving in the city on my own (on the wrong side of the road!) and taking my three young children through all there was to see made for one tired mama - and I was beyond frustrated that she had just done exactly what I had told her (quite reasonably, I thought) not to do.  This is one of those moments that my desire to understand what was happening in that mind of her's overrode my inclination to snap at her in my frustration.  I took a deep breath, reminded her that we were not to pick flowers, and calmly asked her why she had done so.  My sweet, sweet girl looked at me with tears in her eyes and told me that the flower was so pretty that she just couldn't help it.  And you know what?  I was SO glad that I had not reacted in anger because I could completely understand how that temptation was just too much for her three year old self.

I get it, what three year old could resist a beauty like these?

I look at this picture and I can't believe how little she is!

Part of the reason that I am on this journey to live more intentionally is to be a better parent to these children that I've been blessed with.  I will always be a work-in-progress, but if I can keep remembering to think like my kids, then I think we'll all do just fine.

Happy Thursday, friends!

"Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder."  ~Eberhard Arnold


  1. good reaction Mom, we all deserve a chance to explain ourselves when we do wrong. We are bad, just make bad decisions sometimes.

  2. should have typed "NOT bad"

  3. Love love love this. And really need this reminder. Thank you, friend.