I’m officially one step closer to working myself out of laundry duties…my four-year-old has learned how to fold towels! And not just the one-two-you’re-through method, but the mom’s-amazing-wrinkle-free-four-step-fold. 😉
The newly mastered achievement gave her the confidence to try and figure out some of my other interesting folds. She studied intently my sock folding magic and exclaimed, “Wow Mom! How did you do that?”
Her eyes twinkled with curiosity and admiration for my mad laundry skills. I absorbed her awe with a quick kiss on her forehead and had the thought…
Though somewhat unmerited, I am this girl’s heroine. She admires me, and with her voracious curiosity, does her best to emulate me. The thought makes me a bit uncomfortable like my husband’s clingy dress socks.
Being put on a pedestal, even with my kids, gives me a heeby jeeby feeling that I’m about to fall flat on my face. But as I watch her eyes darting from her work, to mine, and back, my simple mind made a connection:
Admiration followed by curiosity is the beginning of learning.
Our kids struggle, then watch in amazement as we do things they are unable to do: open doors, turn on lights, make a sandwich, fold laundry…they appreciate the qualities they see in us that they themselves are still deficient in. They admire, observe, and learn.
And as uncomfortable as this sometimes makes me feel. It’s quite a natural part of development.
Kids will have their heroes. It’s just the way it is. We can try to stifle this natural inclination to attempt to protect them from the inevitable knowledge they will soon discover about the frailty of all humanity OR we can encourage this innocent urge to humbly look on the beauty of others and learn.
I smile as she sticks her tongue out in concentration, trying her best to hone her skill.
I know she will soon be a sock-folding pro, and will quickly realize that I have regular lapses in skill and judgment like all ordinary people, and she will begin to look to others for knowledge I cannot offer.
It’s a bit of a fearful thought, because I know there are two sides to this coin. There are heroes that illuminate our path and those who lead to places no good mother wants her children to wander.
I turn another fuzzy sock right side out.
I guess this is where my great opportunity lies…to walk alongside them so when the time comes for them to exercise discernment, I am there to give insight to the characteristics they choose to imitate.
There will always be ugly in this world. There will always be good people who do bad things. There will always be mistakes and loss of trust, but honestly I don’t want to be the one to champion those things in my kids’ minds.
I want to illuminate the good in others.
I want my kids to find heroes in hardworking, everyday people, in champions of art, history, science, music, philosophy, and hopefully someday… God. To get away from their own selfishness and humbly and routinely look for the good in others.
Her blonde hair falls into her face as she works, and my heart swells with love for her.
I’m so far from perfect (just as all her heroes will be). But as of today, my daughter doesn’t need me to give her a lecture on the ordinariness of her mother or of this task at hand… Rather, she needs me to channel that curiosity into a skill she can eventually call her own.
What kind of heroes do your kids have? Have you had to teach discernment yet with any of the heroes they’ve chosen?