Here’s the amazing thing: at home, we see the very best and the very worst of our kids. As a consequence, sometimes we’re much too hard on them. Other times, much too indulgent.
Today, observing my oh-so-forgetful-one (the kid who is taller than his father but can’t find his own teeth to brush them), I was humbled. And I was proud–of him, but also of myself. Let me explain.
Peter, who is 14, is running a lacrosse camp for 5-6 years old this week. He’s dealing with the e-mails, the reminders, the schedule, the emergency phone number, the cash, all of it. (That’s why there’s $$$ all over the kitchen table and a bunch of kids just never turned up, but you live and you learn, right? Gotta let him make his own mistakes… right?)
His father and I have been looking over his shoulder, suggesting things and helping him get organized and trying our darndest to lay off the poor kid. I’ve been nervous because I have writing to do, and no time to babysit six little kids during a regular work day.
So this morning, I sat upstairs in my office for four hours, listening for trouble. Nothing but laughter and grunting from outside. Peter ran these adorable little fellows all over our yard, organizing drills, joking around with them, being a big brother. He never once asked for help and afterwards, he even cleaned up after himself. Wow.
Now, a therapist once told me that kids function Â at the level you expect them to function. If you say, come on, you’ve got to get over your laziness and DO something, they’ll fulfill your expectations by being lazy. If, on the other hand, you expect competance, they’ll be competant.
Sounds so obvious doesn’t it? Why is that so hard for us moms to achieve? It was great watching HIM be in control today, and keeping out of his way. I felt pride for both of us: I helped shape this little airhead into a functioning human! All those hours spent looking for lost items, reminding him of things, pushing him out of his comfort zone… and the breathing space we give him works. It’s hard for us to step away sometimes and let them take control, but it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.