Obviously, I’m a first time mother learning about trendy and timeless child-rearing ways. I tend towards tradition which is pretty much a new trend now-a-days. I probably desire to be the type of mother that causes some wonder.
I really love that God is a Father to us. The ultimate parental influence. He comes to love us, give us another chance when we repent, and to ultimately save us from our own wicked ways. That’s what I feel called to do as a mother.
I want to teach my child(ren) how to think more than I want to teach them what to think. God, the Author of life, doesn’t even force us to believe anything. He doesn’t want us to be input-output beings who can easily blabber out all the knowledge we have. He does give us many good practices that draw us closer to Him, that cause us to reflect on our life story and to pursue what is right.
There’s not much room for forcing a child’s behavior in this approach.
A is a couple months shy of 18 months and I can already see how this “lax” approach is working. So, how can it be that I am so laissez-faire when I have my toddler doing chores?
Simple! I include my daughter in household activities such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening. There are infinite teaching opportunities around the house. I always invite her to help, whether it be holding the soup soon or putting toys away. My girl ENJOYS doing chores. For us, these learning activities are more valuable than pointing out colors. Rather than saying the right thing, she’s learning to do the RIGHT thing. All by herself, too. Here’s just one example:
Doing laundry, I noticed her taking clothes out of the basket and throwing them all over the floor. Not exactly what I wanted! Cue widened mom eyes. Getting ready to “no” her, I realized this was a great opportunity. Instead, I invited her to help me fold. Her response was make bigger mess. I ignored it and continued to neatly put my clothes away. After a few minutes, I turned around to find her placing her clothes one piece at a time from the basket to her dresser drawers!
Children will eventually learn to recite letters and numbers, there’s no doubt and there’s plenty of time to teach the academic stuff. But one doesn’t just learn about good character, good character is developed and it’s never too early to facilitate that growth.
Chores are good habits! Chores convert chaos (mess) into order, include children as valuable members of the household, and give them a purpose (task to accomplish).
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.