Today when I picked up my three-and-a-half-year-old son from preschool, his teacher told me this story: Apparently my son and one of his best buds, Luke, found themselves together this morning in the class bathroom, which consists of two childsize potties that sit side by side. My son was dutifully sitting on one potty, and Luke was on the other. I guess they were chatting together, and the subject of poops came up, as it is wont to do in that situation. The teacher overheard Luke say that he was having trouble getting his poop out. The teacher said that my son leaned over and said to Luke authoritatively, “Luke, you need fiber! That’s what you need! Fiber!”
This story makes me laugh, because I’ve been talking a lot about fiber in our house lately and about all of its benefits, and it looks like my son has been taking this advice to heart. This shows that my suspicions are correct: When I talk to him, most of the time, my son is actually listening to me!
Here’s another example: Tonight Daddy had to work late, so I took the boys to one of their favorite restaurants: Chick-fil-A. While we were there, my oldest had to potty. Afterwards, we all washed our hands, which was a huge production, but we did it. When we were done, I put the baby on my hip and said, “Ok, let’s go team!” But then my oldest yelled, “Stop!” I stopped in my tracks, and I watched as my oldest took a paper towel and solemnly used it to open the restroom door, rather than touching if with his freshly washed hands. I’m not a germ-o-phobe, but let’s face it, public restrooms are gross, and I’m always telling the boys not to touch things in them, even the door handles. And lo and behold, it looks like my oldest was listening. I couldn’t believe it.
This is very exciting to me. Here is a little person who trusts me -- believes in what I tell him -- and feels that I know what I’m talking about, whether I’m telling him about the benefits of fiber, why we need to be polite to others or why we don’t need to be afraid of the dark. It’s amazing to me, and a little scary. What a huge responsibility! How do I know that what I’m telling him is the right thing?
As mothers, our children look up to us -- at least they do while they’re little and after they pass the teenage years! And it’s our responsibility to tell them good things, true things -- things that will help them as they go through life. Now what that actually boils down might differ from mother to mother and from child to child, and that’s OK. That’s what makes each mother special, and that’s why God gave you to your child: because you know exactly what they need to hear.
Here’s one more example. The other night, we were all sitting around the dinner table, talking about our day. My husband made a joke about something that went awry during his day, but that it couldn’t have been his fault 00 after all, he joked, he was perfect. My son shook his head and said, “No, Daddy, only God is perfect!”, which is something that we’ve been talking about at night before we say our prayers. My son’s sweet, honest belief in this lesson that I’d taught him touched me deeply. Our children are listening. It’s a huge compliment and huge responsibility, and one of our greatest legacies as mothers.
Photo Credit: miikas.
More from parenting