My daughter trailed her hand as she walked by her bed, unraveling the nicely made hotel bed. “Could you please straighten that? I like it neat for when Daddy arrives.”
Adelle looked at hit and threw her arms up, “I can’t, its too hard.” We have had a long week and you could hear her exhaustion in her whiny tone. I can brush it off, and keep folding my laundry peacefully, or I can get up and risk having my two year old roll over in my folded laundry (its not just mine that does that, is it?).
There is always that moment when a parent has to decide if it is worth the battle. I take a deep breath and decide.
It is worth it.
Truth is, that I would rather fold the same load 10 times then to have my daughter think she cannot do something. I want my children to always know that they can do anything. I want them to seek to be everything God made them to be, and I believe He made them very capable. Although I want them to be satisfied with who they are, and the way God made them, I also want them to always be extending just beyond their current capabilities. I would prefer they they always be learning, always trying, and ever enjoying the possibilities around them.
We are not allowed to say “I can’t” in our household. Any time we hear a child say that, we give them other options to say and have them rephrase.
“I can do this,” “I can try,” “I will try,” “Mommy will you please help,” “This is hard,” are all optional phrases. And then the children must try.
I knew my 3.5 year old was capable of straightening a blanket, so this instance was no different. I had to talk to her, and tell her that we are not allowed to say I can’t, and explain how it is always best to try. I asked her to try again, and she immediately asked for help. I gave my presence, and I gave her all my attention, but I told her that it was best to at least try before giving up. I admitted that I would always help if she needed me, but again emphasized her capabilities.
After she tried, I showed her what she was looking to accomplish. I then held one side of the blanket and she followed my example and did a perfect job straightening it out.
As a mother, it is nice to be needed, but it is so much better for my children to realize their capabilities. It is such a blessing to see my children build a self worth that they earn by accomplishing difficult tasks.
I could have left it alone. I could have fixed the problem myself and been ahead on my chores. I could have let her secede to defeat.
Instead, we accomplished something together and we both ended with smiles.
It was worth the battle.