August 18     

Today's quotation:

Chances are that any helpful two-year-old will break some eggs.  We are often not very good at things when we are new.  But there may be an important choice to make at such moments.  Do we support and protect the innate wish to be of help to others in our children, or do we protect the eggs?  Hard as it seems, the greater mother wisdom may lie in a willingness to clean up broken eggs or replace a mitten and a box of crayons.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Today's Meditation:

I really do love to see parents who are patient with their children, and who allow them to make mistakes and do things wrong so that they'll learn on their own.  If a child wants to help me with something, my first thought is usually that it's going to end up taking longer, but isn't it worth it?  Far too often we're more interested in no eggs being broken than we are in helping children to learn things that are important to learn.

Of course, if the recipe calls for six eggs and you have only six, you may need to supervise a little more closely, but that's usually the extreme situation.

Rachel is right on when she says that the greater wisdom may lie in cleaning up a broken egg or two.  Children who want to be helpful are a blessing, and the sooner we can help them to learn what helpfulness entails-- and the very positive feelings that result from helping others-- the sooner the children will grow up to be human beings who are willing to contribute to the world in many helpful ways.

Our children need us to help them to grow, not to control them and try to prevent every sort of accident.  They need us to push them sometimes, help them sometimes, and love and encourage them always.  We have a huge influence on the children in our lives, and it's important that we be adults who help them to learn and to grow rather than adults who only try to control and manipulate.  We can help them to think for themselves and act on their own, but it takes some effort on our part to let go of the need to control.

While broken eggs are a pain to clean up, the effort is worth it if a very young person has been given a chance to do something new, a chance to learn a new skill or idea, and a chance to understand what it means to help someone else.

Questions to consider:

Is it easier to control children or to teach them?  Which results in young people who are more capable?

Why do we treat children as kids rather than as very young people?

What happens if we don't allow children to do things that stretch their limits and abilities?

For further thought:

When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. Thatís if you want to teach them to think.

Bertrand Russell

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