“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6
Today my almost-3-year-old, Filip, ordered me out of the kitchen, saying, “Go away Mommy, I’m gonna wash the dishes myself.” You don’t have to tell me twice! That boy will make a lady very happy one day. =)
I came back a little later to find one clean dish, several dirty dishes still in the sink, and water dripping down my cabinets and forming a puddle on the floor.
Sometimes Most of the time it takes more time and energy to let little ones help than to do everything myself, but I’ve learned that it’s important to encourage their help with a gracious “thank you”, rather than constantly trying to correct or restrict the help that my kids offer. Filip has found several things that his little hands can really help with. He is really good at putting away clean dishes from the dishwasher and even puts dirty clothes in the washing machine for me. Havah (age 4) is turning into a very good little helper as well, and at 6 years old, Naomi is my right hand girl- comforting the baby, feeding the chickens, teaching Havah and Filip how to put away puzzles neatly, even helping Filip to finish his meal when I have lost patience with him!
I want to encourage the heart attitude of actively looking for ways to bless and help others, rather than only doing what they are told to do. (Of course I do also require them to do what they are told, but I prefer to ask nicely and see them obey joyfully as often as possible.) There are certainly days when I hear quite a bit of “WHY do I have to pick up my toys?” and “I don’t WANT to tidy up the house”, and I certainly give my share of “Because I said so!” and “If you don’t put these things away right now I will put them away- permanently!” I keep praying that God will give me the grace to model the kind of joyful, willing spirit I want my kids to have so that I will truly be able to train my children in a lifelong journey of service to God and others.