Monday, November 27, 2006

Daily Life With Little Children

It is easy for us to fall into the mentality of, "I can't anything done when you're around", or "you're in my way"...or "darn!! You woke up from your nap??" Before we know it, we are simply tolerating the child rather than embracing them.

Children have dignity. They are human beings as you and I, with ears, mouths, noses, minds and hearts! They are not just noise-making crazy kids who get into everything and have snot running down their face. They are little people!

When a child comes into the room, I think it is so important that we express a real live and expressive JOY in their arrival, in their presence. This, for me, helps to cultivate the mentality of treating them with dignity, embracing the little child not just into my hands but into my heart. When a child comes into a room or crawls down the hall after a nap, it would be good to greet them with a hearty "hello!!" and a warm smile.

I also always try to remember that their early days of learning are the most formative of their years!! The early days are when they need an abundance of attention, love, guidance... They know and can tell when we don't want them around! They know when we are angry at them. So they will also be able to tell if we are happy to have them around. -If they feel loved and that those around them are happy to have them around, this gives them the sense of security they need which aids in their blossoming and flourishment.

I have also noticed that although a child can play happily by themselves, they also love to be with us! Often I will bring a basket of laundry into the living room where my son is playing so that I can fold while he plays. He of course stops his happy independent playing and crawls right up to me, promptly swiping all the neatly folded stacks off the table, throwing laundry everywhere. (-Frustrating!) When I am making bread and he sits on the counter with me, he likes to add raisins, cereal, spoons and forks to theyeast/water, and make a mess. The list goes on.... There are 2 different mentalities we can adopt here in these types of situations:
1) "OH, you're trying to HELP mama!" or
2) "You're just making a mess.. why can't you play with your TOYS? Whay do you always have to be where I am?"
I confess-- I often fall into the later mentality in my frustrated moods. However, I think that a more healthy, fruitful mentality would be the first. Children want to be with us and be a part of everything because they are learning about the world and because they love us! They are watching, listening, using their hands and they look up to us in everything we do.
My ways of helping Aidan to be involved with what I am doing is to give him a part of the task. When I fold laundry, I always have a pile of rags and towels he can content himself to play with while I fold. When I knead bread, I give him a small amount of dough to eat or some flour to play with. Sometimes he helps me to stir the dough in it's earlier, less dense stages. When I wash dishes he sits in the other side of the sink and washes the plastic cups and unbreakable dishes with his own rag... you get the idea.
They like to be a part of the work. They like to learn. They like to be with us! And they will learn so much! -Not just about what they are doing but about life, love, goodness. (I don't claim to have all the answers or right ways! I am just trying to throw out an encouraging word to mothers out there who have the same stuggles as I do sometimes, and to remind myself and the readers of a different mentality we can adopt.)

As one of our commenters said a while back (and I have held it close to my heart ever since) we must remember that when a child cries out for us in need, we need to be right there to respond, just as Mary and Jesus are for us when we cry for help in our prayers to them. We are the witnesses of Christ's love in our childrens' lives! We are all they know of the world... Before the child grows to the age when they can learn about God's love in an intellectual way, the only example of His love is through us!!
Be cheerful! One of the greatest gifts of yourself to your home and family members is to be unselfishly cheerful and joyful throughout the day. This is a good example to children of the gift of self and a healthy attiutude towards embracing our daily tasks, our life as a whole, day-in, day-out.
~Sia, Vancouver, WA


one of us :: 11:50 PM :: 5 Comments