I have a theory that all first-born children are nervous wrecks. I see it in most of the oldest children in families I know. My dad might challenge that theory because he’s really quite laid back. However, he’s a work horse so maybe his anxiety is channelled through his work ethic.
Our first born, Poor Thing, was rushed here and there. Forced to stay on a schedule. Told not to touch this or that. Made to be our perfect little offspring. But he didn’t want to be perfect, Poor Thing. He wanted to throw stones on the slide to hear them clang. He wanted to taste the cat food to see if the cat’s food was better than his. He wanted to crawl out of bed at 10 pm to see what Mom and Dad did at that time of night. But instead of letting him listen to the clangs, or see that the cat food really wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, or cuddle with us at 10 pm, we squelched Poor Thing’s curiosity and sometimes even his spirit. My heart drops into my stomach as I think about our call to perfectionism, and truth be told, our own avoidance of embarrassment as we would surely be judged by his behavior.
Thank God for putting our hearts over our egos… because 3 boys later, we have a child who is allowed to move at his own pace. (At least most of the time.)
I call it “moving at the speed of Jaden.” I told a friend this the other day, and I think she thought it was an annoyance. Something to be tolerated. After all, she babysat him when she was in a hurry, and Jaden didn’t see that it was necessary to walk through the parking lot like a sprint runner. In fact, getting him out of the car can, at times, be a challenge, especially if he finds one of his “guys” on the floor.
But moving at his speed is a gift. It opens my eyes to the things we adults often overlook. In fact, in relaying this way of life to another friend, www.annkroeker.com , I was introduced to the slow food movement. I had never heard of it. I plan to research this philosophy a bit more, but I have my own slow movement. It’s called: Letting your child jump off the giant rock at preschool…Listening to his favorite part of Star Wars over and over and over and over (and that’s not too many ‘overs’) – and watching, actually watching, as he acts it out…Staying after football practice to chase friends around the field…Staying up past bedtime to finish the Lego Crane Papa just bought…Snuggling on the couch for yet another chapter of an enticing book.
Thankfully, Poor Thing is only ten and perhaps we can undo some of the neuroses we have created in him. Oh how much better it is for the health and heart of all of us when we move at the speed of Jaden, rather than the
Don’t eat that
Find your Shoes
Get in the car
We have to leave for football
What do you want from the McDrive-thru
Have you finished your homework
Let the dog out
Let the dog in
Put the dog in the crate
Get upstairs and brush your teeth
Get to Bed NOW
Collapse on the floor kind of lives that we so often lead.
Instead, may most days move at the speed of a child filled with wonder!