put away their outdoor toys on the porch. Cheerfully they pulled a wagon with their treasures to the porch. Quickly they unloaded and declared they were finished.
Mom looked around and reminded them, “That is not where the toys were when you found them.”
The two siblings each grabbed a toy and headed off to put them
where they belonged. Then the boy found something he claimed to not know where it belonged. Mom assured him, “You know where it goes in the barn, son.” With that he hauled his toy off to the barn.
I was impressed with how this young mom remained calm and sweet while instructing her children. She expected them to do what they knew how to do, yet she gave them just enough help for them to succeed. Although, the mom had told them to put their toys on the porch, she meant it broadly, knowing the
toys had different homes amidst the porch. The children tried to take her literally and dumped the wagon on the porch and called it done.
Mom helped them see where things went by reminding them of where they got them from. Now the two children could find the right place for each item.
Again when “I don’t know where this goes” was declared. Mom helped a little by reminding the child the toy belongs in the barn somewhere. This wise mom did not give into the “I don’t know” claim. It could be easy to have the child leave the toy and take care of it herself when she goes to the barn, but, this would only multiply a child’s claims of “I don’t know” verses helping them remember what they already know.
Later, I asked this mom how she trained her children to be so
cheerful and complete in the tasks. She did comment that they were on their best behavior with me around, they like an audience. Yet, she thought back and said it must have been learned by doing the tasks side by side first. Yes, this momma
involves her children in all her farm chores. Another key point I observe with this family is they talk to the children about what they are doing and why.
Too often we walk through a task with a child and then expect
them to do it like a well programmed computer. Children need repetition and patience. Careful discussion of why a task is done, helps cement its value, for example the toys on the porch. When mom is working side by side with the children she can talk about how a task is not finished until everything is back where it came from. It is important to put things back so they can be found when they are needed again. Tools and toys left on the floor are dangerous to others walking through, they could trip or step on them and get hurt. Things could also get broken by being stepped on. Tools and toys that are left out in the elements get rusty or brittle and are no longer dependable. We want to be wise with our possessions and not waste them. These things come out naturally as we work alongside them.
Today let’s pull those children in alongside to live and learn