When did I become such an uptight parent? Yesterday I caught myself shooing my children out of the kitchen while I was trying to get our upcoming road trip snacks into the dehydrator.
I was tired, I was trying to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, and I just wanted to slice my strawberries as fast as possible.
“We want to help!” they cried out. My response? “You can help me the most by finding something else to do”.
Bah! I heard myself say it and instantly felt the stab of guilt and pain. Was that ME telling my kids to bug off? Yes, yes it was.
The looks on their faces broke my heart.
“Of course you can help”. I changed my tune. I let them pull up chairs to the counter and handed the knife to my daughter.
I knew it would take 50 million times longer to get the dehydrator filled with cut fruit, I knew it would take the dehydrator 20 times longer to dehydrate their thick and uneven slices. Ultimately, who cares?
My son quickly left the scene and there I stood, making memories with my daughter. She ever so slowly sliced the strawberries into very different shapes. She sang to herself and found pure joy in her work.
I kept an eye on her for safety, but let her work on her own while I rinsed the next handful for her to cut.
On her own she figured out the easiest way to turn each piece of fruit to cut. On her own she figured out the easiest way to hold the knife. On her own she cut an entire tray of fruit to be dehydrated.
The smile on her face was priceless. She was so proud and so full of joy. I cannot believe I almost refused to let her experience the same satisfaction I have when I slide a full try of fruit into the dehydrator.
For those moments when we parents are feeling too stressed or overloaded – its important to remember that children learn through watching adults and copying their behavior. (source)
If we are modeling stress, we will raise little stress wads. If we can let go and simply let them learn, we will raise bright little Buddhas.
The truth is, I appreciated the help. And the uneven slices. I am glad I decided to let go and let learn.
To learn more about child led learning, check out our posts on unschooling.