Monday, October 29, 2007

Shhhhh!

Several years ago there was a granola bar commercial that showed small talkative children in various situations saying embarrassing things to strangers followed by the tagline "Chewy stops the chatter."

Lately, I am thinking I need to perpetually keep granola bars in my verbal, curious, outgoing, observant little people's mouths.

Their questions are innocent, but spoken loudly. From 'what's wrong to his/her legs?' when we see a disabled person to 'he/she's NOT doing the right thing, Mommy!' when we see someone with rules different than ours.

Yesterday we were having lunch after church when an elderly gentleman walked over to speak to the family at the table next to us. R started yelling (because that is apparently the preferred volume for 3 year olds), "Oh, yuck! Why is that man so yucky and dirty? He needs to wipe his face!"

I looked over my shoulder and realized he was commenting on the gentleman's large dark age spots on his face.

We had a chat about kindness and making other people feel embarrassed. I realized the children probably have not experienced real 'embarrassment' or self consciousness. Although I am thankful we haven't had to deal with that yet, it is challenging to teach them to empathize or consider a feeling they don't understand.

Above all things I desire to raise children who love God and love others. I want kindness and love to mark their lives. Yet strangely, I am feeling a twinge of sadness as I start trying to 'reign in' their precious curiosity to acceptable social levels. It is another sign that we are starting to grow up.

4 comments:

Peach said...

Totally understand what you're going through. I remember many a trip out with my vigilant 3-year-old who adamantly told any smoker she met that they were going to Hey-ull for smoking. Ah, the way our children teach us lessons in humility.

HW said...

Each step toward independence is happy and sad. But I for one want to thank you for starting early to "reign them in." So many parents don't teach their children acceptable social behavior, especially when it comes to conversation and questions. What starts out as cute quickly turns into rude.
I see 3 pleasant young adults on the horizon - good for you.

Mama said...

That is hard. I have yet to have that happen but I just gotta say that you have such bright and smart babies. They are very, very smart. I bet Bill Cosby would love to sit down and listen to what they have to say. Remember that show? You are reminding me to take note of all my little conversations with my children. I absolutely love this blog!!

Fran said...

This is a little sidetrack of what you posted, but something just came to my mind. I have 3 precious and very different boys. My oldest,11, is the peace keeper of the family and wants the entire world to be happy and can't understand why people would be mean or not get along and say things they shouldn't.

Well, he also has a true sensitive, caring side for others.
For the longest, I tried to curb that sensitivity, especially as he got older. SHAME ON ME!! He's a boy and we don't need to get all weepy and teary over all that!
SHAME ON ME!

I have learned that the love and empathy he has for others is a gift. Having compassion and being sensitive to feelings is a GREAT thing. Wouldn't we want that for our husbands? I want him to be all those things and more.

Anyway, just wanted to share. Its hard being a momma sometimes though isn't it?!
Blessings to you today.
Fran