Sunday, March 6, 2011

Competence is Catching!

Competence is Catching!

Hi Readers — Here’s a brilliant idea that came in response to the previous couple of posts about how our kids can become more responsible when we back off a little. This mom not only liberated her OWN kids from too much help (however kindly proffered), she liberated a whole classroom! — L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I always hated when my kids wanted to dress themselves — not because I was dying to do it, but because I would have to defend myself against the “bad mommy” accusation from the other preschool parents. My guys like wearing stripes and plaid or really odd color combinations.
One day I decided I had had enough. I made up “I dressed myself today!” stickers and rewarded my little guys for doing it on their own.  Pretty soon, all the little preschoolers wanted stickers too, so everyone began to dress themselves as well.  I stopped being embarrassed by the independence of my children and began to embrace it.  It can be hard to be the mom who doesn’t do it all for the kids, parents feel peer pressure too! — Sarah
The idea of “I did it myself!” stickers is incredibly powerful. Think of all the situations they could be used in, and how the idea of celebrating kiddie competence could catch on! — L 

Why am I re-posting this here? Other than that I LOVE Lenore Skenazy and her blog (and not just her really cool last name)?? Because I just love this idea that ANY time we want to give advice to ANY one, we should consider first why we're giving it and second whether it's really wanted or needed. Why is that so important? Because if someone figures something out on their own, especially something really difficult, they are empowered from within to face even greater challenges.

Sometimes kindness to someone who is struggling is just sharing the questions and understanding that there are no answers to our struggles at present, no matter what we do or say. Sometimes companionship in just enjoying the life we've been given at present is the best answer.

During our struggles, the Lord has surely blessed us with friends such as these, for which we are truly grateful. God bless you!


Celeste B. said...

I saw a child with an "I dressed myself today!" button that the mom just pinned on her kids. I wanted one of those too. But, I just let me kids dress themselves and didn't bother with what anybody thought.

Thanks for the reminder about advice. I find myself giving unwanted advice often...much too often. I need to learn to back-off. :-)

Anonymous said...

Right! And the beautiful thing I'm seeing is that it's rather like the Mother Teresa quote that if you judge someone, you can't love them.
In this case, if you try to help them when it isn't necessary, you won't see the miracle of them working through it on their own. (Ah, I love home schooling! Soooo many miracles. ;] )