If we combined all the years we’ve been parents, as in adding all the ages of our children, we could say we have more than 50 years of parenting experience. I’ve never quite understood the theory behind that because truly, I’ve only been at this just shy of 17 years. However, I can attest to the fact that each child is entirely different from the last and the next, so I guess with that reasoning, it kind of makes sense.
We’ve spent most of our years teaching our children our values and trying to instill in them a servant’s heart. This is a very natural tendency for a couple of our children and more of a learned habit for a couple of the others, but it is there, and I am so proud of all five of our children when we are out and about and I see them help others without being asked, picking up something which has been dropped, holding doors for others, and being the first to volunteer when someone is seeking assistance.
It did not come without years of training. That is a fact of parenting. There is much training to be done, but we do it with love and thankfulness for the opportunity and most days, it doesn’t even seem like work, though I value it much more than any job I have ever found.
We have worked off and on for years to teach our children that when they are in one room and need something from another room, they get up and get it, even if someone else is in the other room. We have tried to teach them to be self-sufficient rather than yelling into the other room for the other person to stop what they are doing to serve them. For the most part this has worked immensely well and we have children who do this and sometimes, even ask others in the room if they need something from the room which they are going in order to save them a trip. Sometimes. We are not a perfect bunch by any means.
And then there’s Ben, who for the most part will run to someone near him to hand them his cup when he needs more to drink. The task at hand has been to get him to talk more, to use his words to make requests rather than handing off his cup and hoping for the right response.
Imagine my surprise then, when I was in the kitchen getting a drink for his younger sister and I heard him yelling from the other room, “Mommy! Oh, Mommy! I need some tea please!!!!!!!!!”
I chuckled and responded the same way I have to his older siblings over the years, “Bring me your cup and I’m happy to help you.”
That didn’t work out so well, but we did have a good laugh as his dad brought me his cup and asked, “Has he ever yelled at you like that before?” Nope, never.
I mentioned it was funny but inappropriate, to which Chris responded, “Not really, it’s normal. He’s witnessed the other kids do the same thing over his entire life and he understands that’s what people do.” And he’s absolutely correct – inappropriate in the grand scheme of things, but way cool in the moment.
It was happy moment, worthy of celebrating indeed, which we did, with a little happy dance in the kitchen, right before we agreed not to encourage the yelling from the other room, but to continue with the current course of training.