As some of you know, Lynne and I provided a home for a single mom and her baby boy for his first three and a half years.
As you might imagine in that setting, we had numerous learning opportunities with this strong-willed little fella. On one such occasion I caught my two-year-old little buddy in my emerging garden. I was surprised and yelled at him to “get out!” (Yes, I still yell without thinking sometimes too!) Then I realized I had a Flipcam in my pocket and I taped a little experiment. You can watch it below — pay close attention to Eli’s change in attitude as I go from stern and demanding to gentle and inviting him with choices.
As you watch, consider the following questions:
1. What was Eli feeling?
2. What was said at some key moments?
3. What principles did you see in action here that you’d like to apply with your own kids?
4. What might you have done or said differently?
5. What questions do you have?
(If you can’t see the video, click here to watch it on YouTube.)
Once Eli got out of the garden his “consequence” was to go back in the garden with me to help “fix” the plants he damaged. He never walked in the garden again after this event, and instead became my little garden helper for the next two years.
I don’t show this so you have a formula for what to do when kids are trampling the garden. In fact you saw that I started out in a somewhat angry tone. I share this video to stimulate some thinking about what it takes (or doesn’t take) to help kids grow in wisdom. And that is something we can only do if we ourselves settle down and work at being more thoughtful and graceful.
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