Friday, September 29, 2006

Theology as Taught by Toddlers

Life around here has become exceedingly busy as the kiddos have learned to open doors. Since our chocolate lab's electric fence is on the blink this week as well, my number one role has been "Border Patrol."

The kiddos' verbal skills have also been growing by leaps and bounds, so I am incredibly entertained by their little conversations with each other, especially K's demands that the boys hold her hand across the backseat while in their carseats.

I am picking up on all the expected sibling relationships stuff...but I am also finding that they "lovingly" hold one another accountable a lot lately too. R & K are quick to keep their siblings in line. K's interest is primarily safety. She cries uncontrollably when someone is breaking a rule that jeopardizes their safety. (such maternal instincts at 2 1/4!) R, on the other hand, is quite legalistic. He shouts, "No. No. NO!" when someone is breaking a rule...any rule...including ones he is breaking himself.

It is has been such a picture of the human condition to see how they sneak off into quiet corners to play with the remote control, the cordless phone and other off limits items. When I find them they jump up and say: "No-No, Mommy" then run away as fast as their little legs will carry them. It is enlightening to note how easily they can spot someone else's rebellion, and react with such strong emotion, but keep right on committing their "sins."

Matthew 7: 1-5
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

It is such a fine line...I want them to look after each other. I love to see their legitimate concern for each other...but I don't want to raise tattletale Pharisees. Where is the Instruction Manual???


Alison said...

We have always had the kids understand that we are not cool with tattling. If they come to us with a safety concern, and are honestly trying to help, then that is ok, but if they are telling just so the other will get into trouble then we are not interested. They soon learned, although they still have their days, that it is easier to solve a problem amongst themselves than come to me. If the problem solving is out of control, then to the couch they go where they solve it with mediation. I am happy to give suggestions in regards to solutions, but ultimatly they have to agree together to the end result. Giving each other permission to get off when the problem is solved is rewarding for all parties.

Your kids may be a wee bit young for these ideas but at least you get the idea....

Renee said...

Jen, if you find the Instruction Manuel, please share! I have been trying to find it for years. Practical ideas and tips that tie along with the Bible are always what I'm looking for. I just ordered a book recommended by a friend that is supposed to be as good as Shepherding A Child's Heart. I'll let you know how practical it is, if you're interested.

And as far as the siblings looking out after each other, we have the same things going on. It amazes me, but I guess it shouldn't, that the oldest can tell on the others for things that he does too. It is hard to draw that fine line because we are also trying to teach them to look after each other's safety, especially #2's.

Anonymous said...

We have the same rules around here as Allison. IF someone is seriously doing something that could be dangerous, then by all means, TELL NOW. If it is something that is being told strictly for the joy of watching the other kid get in trouble, the tattle taler goes right to time out.

My big pet peeve is when they - usually Carly - says something in a very loud voice to somebody else like ".... you KNOW you aren't supposed to do that", while looking at me to see if I will get onto them - that irriates me. Why not just give the offender a reminder to stop? Because they just want the other one to be in trouble to make themselves look better.

I try to impress on these kids that they will be each others best friends throughout their lives - so they need to be looking out for each other - starting now.

some days it works better than others.


Ivey's Mom said...

I will let you borrow my book Mommy's Locked in the Bathroom. (Just so you can get a good Laugh!) These babies are all wired uniquely, there aren't enough instruction manuals out there to cover the differences.

HW said...

When my daughter was 3, and playing with a neighbor she came to me to say "mommy, Bryce is going to tell on me, but I told me we don't tattle at our house." Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, You have the instruction manual--you were quoting from it. The key to tattling is the tattler's heart. If there purpose is to get their sibling in trouble or puff themselves up, that does not honor the Lord and is sin for them. They're still young for this concept but they can recognize there own sin nature much earlier than you might think. I love your blog and have been reading it ever since Catie told me about it several months ago. I've shared lots of laughs and tears with you. you're doing a great job!

Sarah said...

I like what Gwen said--different personalities bring different challenges. I always tell Caiden, if somebody's bleeding or throwing up, tell. If not, figure it out yourselves. So far, so good. :)

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for the instruction manual since Sophie was born 7 weeks ago. I still got nothin for you though. Bummer.