Friday, October 3, 2008

Traits you can learn from children

REPOST from October of last year

First the positives, then the creative spin on things:

1. Love - it seems all children have hearts big enough for the whole world. Any stray animal, anyone less fortunate than they are, every relative, and any baby - all can be loved in the same capacity. There is no place in them that can understand why anyone would ever let a holocaust happen.

2. Faith - When Spielberg left his bike out overnight and it was missing the next day, he just knew it had been stolen. We prayed. He looked everywhere he could think of. We drove around looking on all the side streets - all to no avail. We prayed more. The next day, I had a feeling I should drive down a side street before going on my errands, and then another feeling to turn around and go down a street I had passed earlier. There it was; his bike was laying next to the sidewalk in a bush. He just knew it would come back to him. Faith in those smaller things can be very encouraging for parents facing seemingly bigger challenges.

3. Forgiveness - the ability to forget their parents' or friends' wrongs against them, to embrace them, and accept apologies is an amazing gift (too bad it doesn't always extend to siblings).

4. Priorities - last year when Ty was really struggling because of the tumor, Spielberg commented to me that the tumor in Ty's body was like a war. I thought he meant that the good cells were fighting the bad cells, but he was really referring to the fight between our family (all of us, even Ty) and the tumor. He took it a step further and mentioned that it was like WWII when rationing was put in place. He explained that we were having to ration our time with the children because the tumor was requiring so much of our time and energy to fight it.

5. Ambition - are most kids this enterprising? Spielberg has run a lemonade stand/golf ball shop, a small vending machine, and an honor box (which is like a vending machine run on the honor system); Michelle has sold peaches from our tree, cucumbers and zucchini from the garden, toys she didn't want to play with any more, and lemonade; Nicole has tried to sell rocks, her inkblots and paintings, and crafts she's made. Michelle wanted a dog and she saved her pennies, spent hours thumbing through dog books and internet pages of shelter dogs, and she got one! Adria reminded me that after Michelle watched "The Secret," this was her dream. (see #2, above)

6. Imagination - Once, after recent dentist visits, I could hear the water running in the hall bathroom and the girls were giggling. I opened the door and there Michelle was, donned in latex gloves and one of those tie-on surgical masks, and wielding a toothbrush with Nicole sitting on a chair, and a towel draped around her neck. She was giving Nicole the "finer points of dental care" lecture and snapping digital xrays by sticking a baggie-covered popsicle stick into her mouth.

7. Helpfulness - (the double-edged sword) Nicole came running down the stairs screaming and crying, "I think I broke the computer!" She was hysterical and once she calmed down a bit, we discovered that she thought it would be a good idea to dust the inside of the computer tower - WITH A PIPE CLEANER.

"There were fireworks, and now my hand stings." We discovered black marks on her hand and when we turned off the power, we found the pipe cleaner had welded in 5 places to the frame of the computer - but it survived and Nicole was only shaken, not stirred.

8. Talents - Doing what you're good at, doing what you love. I routinely find Michelle in the midst of holding a preschool, gymnastics class, art group, or play group for the 3-4 year olds in our neighborhood. She is a natural teacher, a loving caregiver, and a miniature mom. She loves it, and so do they. Have I mentioned that she loves to administer tube feedings for Ty? I think she'd do IV flushes if I'd let her (don't worry, I won't - yet).

9. The Joy of Discovery - I remember when Ellie discovered her shadow. She was standing in front of the fridge, and the sun was streaming in through the window behind her. The lighting was just right to cast a life-size shadow right in front of her. She would point, then slowly walk toward her shadow. As she got closer, her shadow would move and seem to slip into that space between fridge and cabinet. She'd peek into that space, trying to see it, then back up and say, "Bye, bye," only to have her shadow reappear. She repeated this numerous times and then pointed to her shadow and said, "Geesie" (meaning herself). She was so excited about that little discovery.

10. Language Arts/How to Tell a Story - and by this I mean creativity with words. The ability to be tactful starts with a little white lie. This is also the origin of CYA in the adult world. Better have a good story, at least one better than the other guy.

11. Negotiation - every great lawyer has taken this trait and honed it to perfection, but it all started when they were a kid. Any boy who has ever convinced his mom to let him have a BB or Air Soft gun knows how this works (or any girl who has convinced her parents to let her have a dog). You ask for the sun, and you hope for the moon. You promise extra chores performed until graduation from college or eternal good behavior.

12. Persistence - (also known as the "Chinese Water Torture" or the "Can You Hear Me Now? How About Now? Now?") this trait is best developed in combination with Negotiation (see #11 above). If mom (or dad) says no, ask again. And again. And again. Ask it a little differently. Ask please with cherries on top, and whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles, and please? Please?

13. Resilience - So what if you just ran headlong into the wall, turfed it off the swings, or skinned your knees? A kiss from mom and a band-aid are enough to get you up and running again. It's more fun to jump up, dust your self off, and play than it is to sit around and feel sorry about your owies (now that is a class I need to retake).


Summer said...

That's a wonderful list Corrie!

adria said...

#4 is incredibly insightful for a child.

My children are similarly ambitious, but they have a mom who cringes inwardly everytime they want to start a new business.

Elizabeth-W said...

This is one of my favorite posts!!
Beautiful. Just lovely!

Corrie said...

EW - thank you for telling me that, it sorta makes my day.

b. said...

Once again.....I love your wisdom.
You are truly beautiful!

Lisa M. said...

I need this printed out and hanging on my fridge!

Thank you!~

krisijo said...

I tagged you! Not sure if I'm doing this right, but it sound fun to get to know other bloggers:)