Monday, March 1, 2010
Now, some of you might think, "I would NEVER let my kid color on my carpet!" And that might be true, but those of you that have met Elliot know that there is very little that upsets him more than when you take away a DVD case and/or a crayon. Evan says that when I do it, I'm taking away his sense of empowerment. I realize that this is probably true, but what do you do when you tell your kid "no" and they keep doing it? You take away their empowerment. However, I realized that I was taking it away without giving him any choice in the matter. SO...I started to ask him (as he's heading for the wall with a gleam in his eye), "Elliot, where can you color?" He turns around, looks at me quizzically, then his eyes light up, he raises his eyebrows holds up his little finger (as if to say, "I just had an idea") and then says to me "Da Ba!" (this means "the box"). He did this the first few times, to which I responded "Yay!" and gave him high fives and kisses. Now, when I find him standing in front of the dishwasher with a colorful writing utensil in his hand, I say, "Elliot, where can you color?" He sighs, slumps his shoulders and walks out of the kitchen, "da ba." Rarely will he defy me and just keep coloring the dishwasher, and when he does...well, his sense of empowerment disappears. Now, he's at the point that he's getting frustrated because he can't make his marks look like letters or shapes or animals...so I help him. And as we're drawing letters and shapes together, I kiss his cheek and tell him, "You're my favorite, Elliot! I love you."
He teaches me so much every day. Like about how I act when I discover a gift that God's given me. How I initially wield it with such reckless abandon, feeling empowered and independent, and then realize that I can't do it all by myself and I need Him to love me and gently help me hone and practice using my gifts until they yield fruit. The temptation is to then think that my independent wielding meant nothing, that they're just things from my past that should be erased, but that's not true. As I go around with my magic eraser at the end of the day, I'm not frustrated by the pink, orange, purple, red and blue marks on my appliances and walls. They actually make me smile. Not because I think that Elliot's rebelliousness is funny, but because I know that he's growing. I see that he's not just making straight lines any more, but little swirls and circles that will soon lead to the "O"s that he wants to make so badly. And at times I wonder if that's how my Father sees me too. He doesn't condone my bad behavior, but he sees my growth and it makes Him happy. And it gives Him such great delight, when after patiently waiting for me, I hand Him my crayon and in my own way say, "Peesh" to ask for His help. And as we draw the letters together, He whispers in my ear "You're my favorite! I love you."