|This is from a few weeks ago when they interrupted their dress up play to make snowcream together.|
So I expected that Ariana would tell Elena to do something else or try to gently distract her. Instead, she paused and really looked at her little sister. "You really want to help, don't you?" "YES!" beamed the two year old. "Well, the stove is very hot and you could get burned. But I have a very important job you can do." As she was talking, my seven year old quickly melted some butter in the microwave, and placed it next to the rack of pancakes she had just cooked. Handing her little sister a pastry brush, she told her to paint all the pancakes with melted butter. Elena was so pleased--how much more fun can a two year old have than that?!
After she finished, Ariana carefully instructed her in making pancakes, and let her put a couple of spoonfuls of batter in the pan. Elena compared hers to Ariana's and said that she messed up. Ariana lovingly reassured her that just because they were different sizes or shapes didn't mean that they weren't as good. Elena's smile lit up again. I just watched in awe at the wisdom and tenderness of my daughter towards her little sous chef.
I struggle so hard to incorporate my convictions about how to treat my children. Things like welcoming them into my plans when I am trying to get things done, really listening to them, giving them fun opportunities to contribute in a meaningful way, gently encouraging instead of controlling and telling them how to "improve" upon their results. These are lessons that I have to work at on a daily (hourly) basis. And my seven year old seemed to do it effortlessly! It reminded me that part of the reason I am working to treat my children with gentleness and respect is so that they will find it easier to treat their own children that way.