My son was a quiet child.
He was very easy-going and not so big on conversation.
In fact he is still much the same today, however, when he does have something to say it is usually worth listening to. A lesson I learnt very early in his life.
I was a very young first time mum. An 18 year old with no mothering experience and not much of a role model example to follow, so to say life was challenging is an understatement.
It was more like ‘On the job training’!
And over the years, there were several occasions when I was the one learning from my kids.
At the time when this particular lesson took place I had been blessed with two more children, a brother and sister now accompanying my oldest son.
With additional children the responsibilities and everyday tasks around the home increased and I found myself on many days, stretched to my limit. I remember it being around this time that I gave more thought to the significance of my role as a Mum, and that of teaching my children the Life Skills that they would need, or benefit from, later in life. This in turn would also help in the everyday running of our home.
It was when my oldest was about 6yrs old.
Old enough to learn practical skills, such as; picking up after himself, tidying his room and making the bed. The new routine of our everyday tasks began without hassle and was proving to be very successful until this one day, several weeks later.
He had made his bed as usual and without thought I followed behind him to redo the job he had just done! Yes I was straightening up a ‘6 yr. old’ made bed to be ‘perfect’ when he turned around and said:
“Mummy, why do I have to make my bed when you do it anyway?”
I was without words belittling him, not on one occasion, but every day.
My actions were judging the effort and ability of a 6 year old. What was I thinking? Why would I expect a 6 year old to do the same job as I would, and what made the way I do it the right way anyway?
With these questions and the feeling of guilt falling heavy on me, I struggled to find an answer, and what would be the right thing to say to my son anyway?
Right there and then I apologised to my son.
I promised him that what he did was appreciated and I would not redo his job again. I valued his efforts and that he did it so willingly every day.
Yes, if it is one thing I did have experience in, it was making beds, but then I had been making them a lot longer than he had. But experience did not give me the right to belittle his ability to do what he was doing; his best effort is all that was required.
It was a challenge to walk into his room and see what I saw as a ‘not quite’ made bed, but he was proud of his job. He has always had a serving heart and it was at this moment, I was given the honour to encourage him and to see this develop.
And today, he is a great man that gives so much of himself, a man with a servant heart.
That day I learnt that my way, although the best for me, may not be for others and my experience in life should never be used to belittle others.
After all God only expects my best effort, I do what I can do and He does the rest.
He is the one that bring the “super” to my natural.