“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”
Sometimes my kids, Ellen and Will, commit some minor transgression and I find myself reacting really harshly. I’ve noticed at these times that in the back of my head I’m justifying my own rigidity with the refrain that they’ve got to “figure this out” because it’s “the way the world works.”
There are things they have to figure out. It’s just the pacing that’s up for debate. When Ellen struggles with some aspect of the cold, hard reality of things, my job isn’t to force her to confront it at full force — to make her sink or swim.
So, to use two metaphors simultaneously (because that’s how I do):
Sink or swim immersion into the challenges of life might make for a quick grasp of the dog paddle, but isn’t likely to result in a refined breaststroke.
And, to paraphrase Molière, trees that are allowed to grow slowly will bear the best fruit.
What’s the deal with Other People’s Kids (and by “Other People” I mean people who aren’t you or me)? Well, obviously, they aren’t as cute as our kids. Plus, they’re usually not nearly as well-behaved. I’ve also noticed that when my kids (and yours, too, of course) mess up or misbehave it’s really just a deviation from their norm rather than a reflection of their deeper character. Other People’s Kids, of course, are displaying their true colors. Evil colors. How do all these Other People deal with such evil little kids?
My kids (who, like yours, are angelic nearly 100% of the time, I promise) were at the park recently. There was also a good sized group of Other People’s Kids there. Kids being what they are, a game broke out. It was a swordfighting, swashbuckling adventure type of game that relied heavily on the use of plastic lightsabers. I think it was a mashup of Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and total chaos. There may also have been a hint of Lord of the Flies.
One kid in particular, who I know to be a 3rd grader, was really into the sword fighting part. Really into it. He was raining down holy, plastic, light-saberized terror: two hands held high, white-knuckled, swing-it-so-hard-the-sword-bends-itself-around-the-sword-of-the-defender style play. Continue reading Correcting other people’s kids: It’s not as easy as taking a plastic light saber from a baby.