Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Obstacles...Or Not.

Scrrrrrrrrrrrch. Scrrrrrrrrrrrch. Any guesses what that sound is (supposed to be ;) )? Do you give up? That would be the sound of a chair sliding across the tile kitchen floor. I turned to see *I* sliding the chair across the floor. He was watching me to see my reaction.

I didn't move. I waited and watched. You see, I have learned that if he is caught in the act and I respond immediately, he abandons his mission and I was really curious what he was going after with this chair. He wasn't in immediate danger so I waited him out while he watched me all smiles and innocence.

His objective was a pastry box on the counter. He had no idea what delight might be awaiting him, but this box was new and must be investigated. (At least I assume that's what he was thinking ;) )

I am no longer surprised by my boys' problem solving skills. For many years I have observed great feats of engineering and creativity to achieve their objectives. Fortunately, no one has been injured in these attempts...yet. (I have to say "yet" and knock on wood too, lest I jinx myself. ;) )

I am glad they have such skills and I hope that as they get older, they can use these skills to scale any "brick walls" that someone may place in the way of their (honorable) goals, whether they be the brick and mortar walls or intangible obstacles.

The boys also have the valuable trait of determination. Well, it's mostly valuable..sometimes it drives me bonkers. Sometimes pushing hard for something you want is a great thing, but there is also the whole "be reasonable" thing.

When *J* was 3 or 4 he wanted to go to the moon and he was EXTREMELY angry that he could not hop the next rocket ship to get there. Pretending just didn't cut it. No matter how much he begged, cried or yelled, we weren't going to be able to convince NASA to send our preschooler into space. (Although after this tantrum, I would have signed the consent...maybe.)

Not everything they are determined to get is as "unreasonable" as a trip into space. Sometimes it's something we don't have time for or cannot afford. Sometimes it's unsafe or inappropriate for them. That doesn't matter to them. They WANT it.

I think that's why I love this quote so much. "Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable, inasmuch as he has the fountain of reason in him not yet regulated." Plato

They're bright and tenacious and great at solving problems, but they aren't always reasonable. It's our job as their parents to be that voice of reason for them. It doesn't always make us popular but that's part of the job description.

We often have to make our own judgement calls about when to let them "problem solve" and when to shut down the operation. Sometimes I don't catch the determined "trouble shooter" in time and they make a bad choice...and then there are consequences. But, God uses all things for good, even the consequences. :)

This morning..there were no "consequences"...and being the softy I am, *I* got a taste of the pastry. :)


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