Monday, August 20, 2007

How children learn

Today I was reminded of a powerful lesson. My children's world is shaped by what they see in us as parents and the window that we provide to the world.

I had a very bad headache this morning which grew into a fullblown migraine by lunchtime. I got the kids down for their nap (Dad was at school all day) and dragged myself into bed with a few tylenol. I was sensitive to light and noise and nauseous. I layed there in the dark willing the pain to go away when after 45 minutes I heard Bennett crying out to me. Inside I was begging him to go back to sleep since that was way too short for a nap, but I got up and went in to him, tucked him in, and got another 10 minutes of lying down in before he was crying again. So I got him out of bed, explained Mommy was really sick, and asked if he wanted to lay down with me. He came into our room, pulled himself onto the bed next to me, and proceeded to bring me to tears with his love. He stroked my face with his hand and kept asking if mommy was ok, if I was sick, if i was going to throw up on my pillow (His little sister has taught him about vomit). he stayed there for a long while, giving me sweet kisses, touching my face and asking if I was ok. I cried in pain for a while and he was so concerned and full of love that my heart was swelling with love for my little man. I set him up with the Nemo movie in the living room and drifted in and out of rest while i layed there and watched him sit and play the quietest I have ever seen from him. He knew I was sick. He covered me up with his precious white crocheted blanket that he loves so much. When I finally did have to run to the bathroom to throw up, he was so concerned and sat next to me on the floor and kept asking if I was ok. Thankfully his little sister kept sleeping through all of this with her regular long naps. The whole afternoon his little face shone with love and concern for me as he was the man of the house. I was amazed that he knew how to love and care for a person so much at only 2 and a half, but that is where i saw the lesson. He learned from us. He sees us pick them up and hug them, caress their faces when they are sad, and ask if they are ok. He loved and cared for me exactly the way he sees us love him and his sister.

Sons and daughters are shaped and molded, their perspectives on life engrained by how they see their parents treat each other and them, by their practice of their faith, their attitude toward others, and their generosity, patience and love. They also can learn to emmulate anger, hurt, yelling or other behaviours just as easily.

I am moved again by something else Bennett has learned by mimicing us. Each night at the meal we hold hands, and Bennett bows his head quickly and says in the softest voice "Thank you Jesus for this food" Then he looks up with a big grin and says "OK Your turn!" to someone else who finishes thanking the Lord for our meal and days. He has learned to say You are Welcome after someone says Thank you to him even though we never once vocally taught him this. He loves to follow Dad around and help him with chores like dishes, building things, carrying suitcases or whatever he can. My little boy loves to act so grown up with the things he has learned by watching us.

Its in the Ten commandments that children are to honor their mother and father. Paul adds specific instructions for dads. He writes, “And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” I take this to heart as a mother too. It is an awesome gift to have a child, but comes with the awesome responsability of raising them, teaching them, and helping them grow into loving, responsible adults.

Paul has a favorite song. It brought him to tears when driving and he heard it one day, and it still holds a special meaning to him.
The song is called “Watching You” and it was written and sung by Rodney Atkins. He based it on his real-life experience as a father to his young son, Elijah. The song shares the story that perhaps more than a few us can connect with from one angle or another- that of a father and his young son. The refrain of the song pierces the father’s heart, “I’ve been watching you, dad, ain’t that cool. I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you…And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are…I wanna do everything you do, So I’ve been watching you.”

Today I was reminded again of this lesson. I was reminded of what I have taught my son, what my daughter is still learning and watching, and both the joy and responsability in that.

Thank You Bennett for loving me so well.

6 comments :

Carrien said...

Amen.

That picture is adorable. Arielle looks so cute and happy. It looks like you have gotten to the happy part.

Gina said...

Amen. I have had the same exact days in the not so distant past. thanks for putting it into words.

heather said...

Well sweet one - you know me - I'm bawling again.. what a precious little man your son...took me back a few years - like (35. Sons and their moms... a very very special relationship that I cherish to this day.

Princess Pamela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Princess Pamela said...

Such a beautiful tribute to Bennett and to the parenting he has received.

Obviously you've learned to parent your children so well because your own parents have loved you so well...and so the circle expands.

God bless...we miss you.

Lisa M said...

Oh my goodness. Thank you for sharing that story. My little precious Bennett is getting so big and being such a little man. This whole story just made me break down and cry so hard because I love you all so very much and miss your beautiful faces. Thank you for sharing from your heart Chantelle. It is absolutely beautiful!