|This swim mask makes cutting onions fun!|
|I never knew picking salmon could be so much fun!|
All my children love to help in the kitchen as long as there are no other pressing needs going on. Neither do I enlist their help when they are in the middle of an adventure, playing together nicely, enjoying one another. Why break up something good and wholesome? Siblings learning to relate without fighting, arguing, or bossing one another around is a very good thing. I would see this over any amount of extra help in the kitchen!
I always welcome them to try just about anything, except for cracking eggs under the age of 6. I just can't take the mess and shells. I have to draw the line somewhere. Even my littlest one, at the tender age of 2 helps to knead any type of dough or stir anything that needs mixing, whether or not it really does. She loves it and I let her.
Yes, we have some rather large messes at times, but nothing that can't be cleaned up and usually laughed about. Although, last week my Kitchen Aid Mix got turned on briefly with the beater up and full of cake batter. I was not laughing then, but I am laughing now.
I'm still finding dried cake batter a week later, but thankfully no one was hurt. My 5 year old boy learned a healthy lesson about not "fiddling" with buttons. His mama learned a healthy lesson in the grace of God, yet again. I was right there, close enough to watch over and protect, as my pinky finger was bruised on the spinning paddle. I also got a chance to practice humility as I had to go back and tell my little boy I was sorry for being angry at him for making a mistake.
I know making mistakes are part of life, but some are just so much bigger than others or have far reaching effects. It would be better for us parents to step back and allow some mistakes and practices in getting back up and trying again, then to never allow our children to learn things the hard way. It seems unloving, but how else do they learn?
We're teaching our oldest to drive. He's spent the Winter learning to drive in mostly dark or semi light conditions with snow and ice covered roads. Now that the weather has cleared and warmed up, driving is so much the easier for him. There's no estimating how much time it will take to stop and start at each light and every intersection.
What does take him a while is moving off the line. He's so used to creeping, he still creeps cautiously. I reminded him now of the danger of getting rear ended. He gets it. A few minutes later, he stated, "I feel like I'm driving a race car."
We didn't blindly put him out there on the road with no training and education. He's been taught to read, write, and think critically. He studied the driver's manual and just about aced the test. He asked questions months before he was ever behind the wheel. He spent time observing, learning and soaking it all in. Now he gets to practice. What will make him a good driver? A multitude of things, including the grace of God. Some things can't be learned from a book. As we practice driving, we become better at judging speed and distances. We begin to understand, feel and sense much more than someone who is simply reading it all from a book.
The analogy here is that reading the Bible and memorizing verses is wonderful and we should all be doing it. BUT it doesn't take the place of experience. Faith has to be lived and felt, and understood to be real. It's not just head knowledge, it has to be put into practice. What good would it be to have all that knowledge but no understanding... "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth."
I'm thoroughly enjoying experiencing parenting teenagers. It's filled with laughter, hope, deep thought provoking discussions, and light hearted silliness. AND so much less tears and drama then the younger ages. They're developing their own opinions and learning how to respectfully relate to others and communicate their dreams and hopes and desires. I am no longer the guide and helper that I used to be. My role has shifted to being available rather than an avid watch keeper over their little souls. When they come to me to ask a question, I find myself saying, "Have you prayed about it yet? What do you think God would say about it? Or, let me share a story from my experience or remember so and so in the Bible...." Sometimes I share my opinion and sometimes they will appreciate and try it, and sometimes they will have their own and it is equally good if not superior to my own and I am learning to appreciate that as well.
God is so good. His ways are not our ways, nor are they the worlds ways of doing things. It takes faith and trusting in Him to show us the way in this Century of Living. We've got to get into the driver's seat and start practicing our faith for real. It could be the ride of your life time, but you'll never know until you "get in."