We spent a few days camping in the mountains as a family – the great outdoors provides many beautiful ways to be together and still keep the social distance we need in our family due to preexisting medical conditions.
Quite understandably, our 3-year-old great-granddaughter, Rebecca, wanted more than anything to pick the lovely wildflowers, especially the daisies, which she found so tempting and really wanted to have for herself. I tried explaining, as I remember my grandmother explaining to me, that we need to leave them growing so everyone can enjoy them, but this did not seem to be a very compelling argument, and she continued to reach out to pick the daisies.
I had what I thought was another great idea and suggested that she could find all the different kinds of tall grasses with their wonderful heads of glorious seeds and pick them. She tried that a few times, and they were pretty cool, but alas, no match for the daisies.
We wandered down to the river to play, and there they were, more daisies! Her little hands reached out to pluck the tempting prize, and I tried again.
“You know, Rebecca, that little flower is doing something really hard right now.”
“Look right here in the middle, did you know that flowers grow tiny seeds right here? Tiny seeds that will be the flower’s children next year, its babies? It’s trying to grow its babies right now.”
She peered deeply into the flower and a new look crossed her face. You could see the wheels churning…her own mother is pregnant, and she knows a little bit about how important it is to take care of unborn babies.
She paused for a moment, ran over, picked up her water bottle and joyfully began watering the little daisy.
“I’m helping the babies grow!”
She carefully moved from one daisy to the next, to the next, lovingly helping as many babies as she could.
When she had dispensed the final drop of life-giving water, she put her bottle down, no longer fighting the urge to pluck the flowers out of the ground, but fiercely committed to their tender care.
This sweet experience helped me remember the importance of sharing with our kids the reasons behind our rules and making sure that our explanations are both honest and meaningful to them. Our rules are some of the most powerful ways we share our wisdom, teach our values, and inspire kids to ask, “What can I do to help?”
How about you? We’d love to hear about your experiences, with positive outcomes and even not so positive ones (yet) in teaching kids your rules and the values they represent.
Here’s to Failing Forward,
Anne and Calvert
Share This Article: