September 22, 2003

Lessons in Everyday Life... Today did not go at all how I had planned it to. Today was supposed to be Spanish lessons in our cooperative. However the scheduled teacher's son was sick and we called the day's class off instead. Our daughter was once again sad (we had to miss last Friday's co-op pottery class because I had a blinding headache) to miss her class. She really enjoys the cooperatives. She enjoys playing and learning with all the kids and is developing relationships with all the members of the families. She also seems to really enjoy her lessons and is particularly excited to learn Spanish. So I knew we needed to do something outside of our house.

We started the morning with some outdoor playtime. This time was spent mostly bike riding and swinging in the hammock. They also walked around our yard and a neighbor's collecting fall items (leaves, acorns, pinecones, etc) and placed them in a basket to use at a later date for a fall project. We played imaginary games and I listened to their creative play and participated in various supporting roles.

Then it was off to run some errands - not typically my idea of fun with three little ones in tow - but it went better than I expected, we managed to learn and have fun along the way. In the car we finished listening to Little House on the Prairie on tape (for the second time) and then we sang some songs together from the Wee Sing Bible Songs and talked about various bible stories. Lately we have been talking about the story of David and Goliath quite a bit.

This past weekend we had a challenging discussion about the Story of David and Goliath, Star Wars and inappropriate play. Our four year old daughter started pretending to play with guns (she was building one out of lego's" and then pretended to "kill" her brother and was saying some not so nice things to him. I went to help alleviate the situation, offer appropriate discipline and help to the younger child. What came next I was not fully prepared for. I started to talk about how it is inappropriate to hurt one another and how we need to be kind to one another. I was thrown my first fast ball with "But people in Star Wars teach me that it is okay - they use guns and kill people" I managed to foul tip that ball with a late swing about the difference between reality and fantasy and how sometimes people do things that are not good (both in reality and in fantasy or pretend).

Getting ready to launch into a discussion about why "killing" play is unacceptable I got thrown a curve that I was completely surprised by (I was expecting another fast ball) but in the bible people kill one another. I know this is not an unusual connection for children to make (but I was surprised by my four year old) and I was in some ways prepared for it. I talked a bit about sin and how that can lead to people making poor choices that go against God's will. Then she threw a knuckleball that just took me off guard. Well what about David? Was he wrong? Didn't God help him kill Goliath? Was he going against God's will. I just thought to myself "Why do I find myself answering this question for a four year old? How did she learn to make those connections and realize the inconsistencies so quickly. The next thought was "I am in TROUBLE when she is a teenager" and the last thought was "HELP". So I called in Serona and we dealt with the issue together. I'm not sure she was satisfied with the answer or completely understood it but I think we were able to explain to her some of the concepts of sin, free will, fantasy and reality, acceptable and unacceptable play, and how play can still hurt people's feelings. They continued to play (this time building a castle) and we moved on but I thought how much innocence is gone now? Why do we have these talks with our children so young? It made me a little bit sad.

Back to today - we ran our errands and found the teachable moments within the day. Counting, naming and describing items we saw in the store. Helping pick out clothes for their baby sister and working on curbing whining, pestering and other challenging behaviors often seen in stores with children. We ran our errands, had a picnic lunch in the backseat of the van (not the healthiest I admit) and then headed home for naps. During nap time the phone repairman came to work on our phones and was here for awhile. Then daddy came home early and the kids got to run outside and play with him.

They had special time with dad tonight as I had to head out to a LLL meeting (with the baby of course) and then snuck into a bookstore for about a half hour for some me time. All in all it was a good day - though it was often chaotic and overwhelming. It is good to have days like this to remind you that your kids can still learn no matter what you do and often the most meaningful conversations happen on the floor over lego's or in the car headed between stores and how you handle those teachable moments will affect them and you for the rest of your lives.


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