Yesterday morning I had a simple, accidental revelation with my dexterous 7-year old daughter. Short on time, she decided to have a piece of toast for breakfast. Knowing I’m the best toast-butterer in the world, S. said, “Mom I need butter on my toast – please butter it for me.”
My hands, immersed in sudsy, warm dishwater, scrubbing away at the long-neglected dishes, were not fit to butter toast. The wheels in my mind slowed, I sensed the opportunity at hand and replied empathetically, “Oh honey, my hands are all soapy, I don’t want to ruin your toast.”
Disappointed, S. tried again. “But mom…I’m not good at buttering toast and you’re really good at it!”
“Darn… sorry about that, Sweetie. Just look at these sudsy creatures!” I lifted my hands to show the yucky soapy mess that would envelop her toast.
Suddenly resolute, S. asked, “Okay Mom, where’s the butter?” A minute later with quiet pride she said, “Look Mom, I did it all by myself!”
Sometimes I have to be creative, play a bit silly, a bit incompetent or just plain unavailable, to get my kids to step up and take the initiative on a task well within their grasp or even one that seems a bit out of reach.
Have you had a similar experience? Share it or plan your “incompetence” ahead of time and let us know how you imagine it could encourage your child.
Your comments inform and empower other parents! Examples with kids of all ages encouraged!