It would be so nice if we could have remote controls for our kids. I think I would use “MUTE” quite a bit. It would be awesome if you could custom-tailor them to your needs. Mine would have a button that makes them enjoy vegetables. And one that keeps them from picking their noses and eating their boogers. And there would be a button I could hit to make them do exactly as they’re told.
This morning I had my mom’s group, and we currently do not have a babysitter to help out. Thus, there are five 2- to 4-year-olds who we basically ask to go down to my basement and play together for two hours. I’m actually amazed we get to have any time to talk when I think about how ridiculous a request this is of children that age. Thus the kids come up several times and we take turns directing them back to the basement and taking care of the “he hit me” and “she didn’t share” issues.
Today, while one of the mom’s two boys were up with us and eating our food, I confess I was a bit annoyed they were upstairs and wanted them to go back down and eat their snacks, not ours. And then the older brother said to his little brother, “Hey Timothy, would you like some cheese?” And he proceeded to cut a large slice of the little bit of brie that remained, and then he handed it to Timothy. And of course that was when their mom (like I would have done) took the piece of cheese away and directed them back down to the basement.
Now that it’s nap time, I have had a few moments to think back on that moment and realize how beautiful it was. Yes, the boys had come upstairs to be with their mom, even though we had asked them to stay in the basement. But the older brother was taking care of his younger brother; he was putting him before himself. He was clearly enjoying the brie, and even though there was very little of it left, he offered it to someone else.
And I sit here wondering how often I miss the good in the middle of the bad. And bad here isn’t necessarily bad. In the moments when I’m not able to control them (because they do have minds of their own) and not getting what I want, am I seeing the growth? Do I praise and reward them when I see their hearts reflecting goodness, kindness, or gentleness, in the middle of disobedience?
I am not even sure that I would call the children’s visits upstairs disobedience because they are too young to be left alone and they need a lot of guidance. Our children needing us shouldn’t be annoying (though I sometimes allow it to be).
I think, in retrospect, I’m the one who needs the remote control: one that turns off my selfishness. And one that enables me to step beyond how I feel in the moment – a pause button – and opens my eyes to all the good my kids show me, each and every day.