A young farmhand, lovingly guided

The young farmhand, March 15, 2013

Just a couple thoughts on parenting and life, just in case I don't get time to write more on them later. Surely if I write a snippet now, I might cross it off the list. Done. At least a little bit, even if it was done poorly. There's a risk f I don't write now that it will remain on the list until I become tired of transferring it to a new to do list. Or, the thoughts will become so distant that I won't really remember what I meant to say.

Like that sweet thing Beren used to do. When was that? Oh, yes, that one thing among so many things… Like when he'd take one of his big cardboard blocks, hold it to his chest diagonally, and switch his shoulders up and down. He'd hum, "Hmm hmm, mmm mmm. Hmm mmm, mmm mmm." That's how he played violin.

Today's thoughts are more philosophical. Uh oh. I think I forgot one of them. Nope. Got it. I remembered. Here we go:

If you make responsibility a pleasure, so it will be. 

Beren loves to help in the kitchen. I give him tasks, always pushing at the edges. Slicing kale with his red plastic knife. Running the Cuisinart to blend sauces. Turning the hand cranked herb grinder. Seasoning the food. Pealing the onion skin. Whoa, that's a lot of cinnamon. Uh oh, onion tears. No! Don't touch your eyes. Sorry, but the tears will help. It will pass. Those onion tears. 

I give him credit. "This is Beren's sauce. Beren made this dish, Papa," I tell Jared as we sit at the dinner table. I glance at Beren. He's beaming.

I gave up saying, "Beren helped." Or, calling Beren "my assistant". It didn't have the gravitas.

Tonight, Beren struggled to carry a basket of wooden trains and tracks. "I need a helper," he said. "I need a helper on this side." I grabbed one handle, and we brought the basket to the center of the room.

All those times I pulled the trash and recycling cans as Beren pushed, it's adding up. In moment, crossing the indeterminable expanse between the porch and the edge of the lane, hunched over a trash can, it can seem and is, horribly inefficient. Horribly, horribly boring. Horrible, horrible aching back, coaxing the child and trash can ever forward. Ah, but those sturdy and confident, proud and occupied little legs and hands. Great. I like when we do things together. Thank you for bringing the trash out with me.

When you practice loving guidance as parent, you are ever present in your child's life. 

You chose the easy and difficult path. Easy because the home is a more peaceful and loving place. More difficult because it seems, sometimes, that yelling or forcing or television might be easier. And largely, you are not yelling or forcing or television-izing.

You may be angry, upset, forceful, and looking for an out. You may yell. Even so, you are thinking, considering, and honoring yourself, your child, your family. You are present for all aspects of your child's life. You are not missing anything in your child's life, even when you wish you were.

I do my best to practice loving guidance in the home. Sometimes, times are difficult. Jared and I take turns. Sometime, times are wondrous. Jared and I look at each other and he'll say, "What a sweet kid."