I was cleaning up the kitchen, so I told the kids to play anything they wanted, as long as it didn’t require my assistance, and I mentally committed to letting them figure things out on their own for half-an-hour. Still, I could hear snippets of their conversations and couldn’t resist peeking in at the process.
So when E pulled her top sheet off her bed and downstairs I thought, “that sheet is going to get so dirty down here”, but said nothing.
When S helped her spread it out on the living room’s hardwood floor I thought, “last time they did this with a blanket, with no rug pad, and it made such a slippery surface that someone fell”, but I said nothing.
When they dumped the whole box of lego duplos out on the floor and began separating the connected pieces and spreading them out on the sheet, I thought, “S is not wearing shoes! She is going to step on a lego and hurt her foot!”, but I said nothing.
When they left the whole crazy mess to go color, I thought “they can’t just leave all of that there!”, but they were playing independently – just like I’d asked them to – so I said nothing.
When E asked me how to spell “botanical”, I said something – for the first time – “B-O-T-A-N-I-C-A-L”
I also said something when they asked me to come look at what they had created. I think my exact word was, “WOW!”
Check out what the kids can do when I step back, say nothing, and just let them go: a botanical garden, made of lego-flowers, complete with signs welcoming bees and birds to come over and check it all out.
(I think I am wanting credit for showing restraint now, and for recognizing the merits of sometimes saying nothing, because when they are teenagers I am going to be all up in their business.)
God, as I raise these children, please help me know when to intervene, and when to bite my tongue and let my kids go & do & independently figure things out.
In the meantime, I think that’s a pretty great botanical garden! (If you want to see the details they drew in the pictures, you can click on the photo to enlarge.)