We rented a movie for the girls at Red Box the other day and Sari had carried it inside. We didn’t watch the movie right away and when it came time to watch it, I couldn’t find the DVD. Misplaced items used to really bother me, but being married and having children has fixed that deficiency in my character!
So, I am calmly looking all over the house trying to locate this elusive DVD. Both of the girls are patiently waiting as I scurry about. Finally I find it on the bookshelf right in the living room in an obvious spot.
Sari says: “Dad, the movie was hiding from you!”
As a parent, you want the best for your children. You want to see them succeed. You want them to live up to their full potential. You don’t want obstacles to get in their way or failures to keep them down. A well-meaning parent says: “You can, you can, you can! You can grow up to be whatever you want to be!”
So how do adults (who used to be formative children at some point) get to the point where they fail and stay down? How do adults let obstacles get in their way and stop them from succeeding? I think it starts when these adults are children… maybe.
A while back, my daughter, Sari, said the words “I can’t.” I didn’t think much of those two words at the moment… that is until my pleasant and often congenial wife, Amanda, turns in to an instant disciplinarian: “Don’t say ‘I can’t’ Sari! Don’t ever say, ‘I can’t’!”
I was a little taken aback by my wife’s response to this seemingly innocent and undisciplinable statement from a 4 year-old. She later explained to me, and to Sari, that she wants our children growing up thinking they CAN do anything, not they CAN’T do anything. Amanda’s family are entrepreneurs. They are all CAN DO people. They have been successful through their failures and obstacles. They work hard. They may be limited by things they CAN’T do, but that is by choice, not by circumstance.
Just having a CAN DO attitude does not guarantee one success in life. Merely eliminating CAN’T from your vocabulary does not mean that life will always work out for you. However, do you see life for the possibilities it holds? Or do you see it for the vast limits it holds and the obstacles in your way?
I wonder if helping to create a culture of CAN DO people starts when they are young…
Sari hurt her foot the other day. I don’t remember exactly how, but it seems like she is always running in to stuff!
Anyway, when she hurt her foot she screams bloody murder! Life is over! I know, I know… kids respond to pain in a variety of ways and my daughter is just expressing herself, right? Okay. I’m learning how this goes. There’s no manual for parenting. Anyway, we gave her some ice, elevated her foot, and laid her on the couch to recover.
Then Amanda and I turned our attention elsewhere. We moved on to other things. About ten minutes later we noticed Sari running around the living room with her sister, Macie, playing. I made a comment: “Sari, your foot must feel better?”
As soon as I said this, she fell to the ground and started to caress the foot again like she had temporarily forgot her injury and began to wimper.
Amanda and I started laughing at this sudden miracle, then Sari smiled, giggled, then went on her merry way.
Boy… they learn manipulation early!
Sari and Macie were playing a game (Hungry Hippos, I think) and they started to fight about it. Amanda stepped in and told Sari that she needed to teach Macie how to play so she wouldn’t get frustrated. At this point in the intervention, Sari was exasperated and she exclaimed to her mother: “I don’t want to teach Macie! I don’t want to be a teacher!!”
I was a silent witness to these events from another room. I called to Sari and asked her to visit me, which she reluctantly did, assuming, rightly so, that she would be in trouble for her outburst and unwillingness to cooperate with her sister and mother.
I had a cup of coffee in my hand and I set it down on a table. I asked Sari to watch what I was doing for a second. I reached down to the coffee cup, grabbed it by its handle, brought it to my mouth, took a slow and deliberate sip, then proceeded to set it back down on the table. I asked her what I had just done. She replied, “You drank some of your coffee.” I pressed her further, “How did I drink my coffee?”
I continued: “I grabbed it by the handle, right? Why? [pause] Because a coffee cup holds hot coffee and it’s probably not a good idea to hold it by the cup when it is really hot, right? Did I hold it by the lip/rim of the cup? Why? [pause] Because I could drop it like that, right?”
I think Sari was beginning to catch on…
“Did I gulp the coffee fast or sip it slowly? Why? [pause] Because coffee is hot and it could hurt my mouth if I drank it fast, so I drink it slow, right?”
Dad: “Did I just teach you how to drink coffee?” Sari nods. “Did I have to say anything to you or did you just watch me?” Sari: “I just watched.” Dad: “Can you teach Macie stuff by playing games the right way and showing her how it’s done?” Sari grins. “Maybe you can teach Macie about how to act appropriately and not throw fits by you acting appropriately and not throwing fits. Can you do that?” Sari: “Yes, Daddy.”
Dad: “Now go teach your sister stuff…”
I like coffee. Amanda and I drink it every morning. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that short little lesson about what we do and who we are is on display to everyone all the time. We are always teaching, aren’t we? We are constantly teaching our kids, our siblings, our spouses, our coworkers, our employees, our friends, our customers, even strangers, and we don’t even know it. What are you teaching people today?
Go ahead, have another cup of coffee…
Four years ago this morning, Sari Mae entered the world. The world has never been the same since – especially Amanda and I’s world! Sari brings much joy and laughter and independence into the Mavis family. It’s never a dull moment when she gets that twinkle in her eye and starts to giggle!
Happy Birthday, Sari!
Sari is a pretty smart young girl. Our daycare ladies tell us often how amazed they are at her mental progress and prowess (I’m sure they tell all the parents that, right?). Sari has been able to recognize her name for a while now, but it has been a recent phenomenon that she is able to spell and craft her name (like in the picture above).
In honor of her upcoming birthday and this milestone in her life, I thought I would dedicate today’s blog post to my oldest daughter, Sari. I’m proud to be your dad!
The other day I was disciplining Sari about something and I was talking with her about “why” we (her parents) discipline her. I said something like: “We want you to grow up and be a girl who doesn’t hit people, a girl who is kind to other people and makes good choices. Basically we want you to grow to look like God, and Jesus helps us with that.”
While I’m saying that last bit, Sari’s forehead wrinkles and she says: “Daddy, God is a boy. I don’t want to be a boy!”
If Sari is excited she’ll say: “YEAH! Thank you! You can come to my birthday party!”
If she’s mad she’ll say: “You CAN’T come to my birthday party.”
“Not for another 3 months, Sari.”
“But I want Christmas now!” she tells us.
“Nothing we can do, honey. We’ll make sure you don’t miss it when it comes.”
She’s quiet for a few seconds, then she tells us: “I want presents from the fat man @ Christmas!”
We laughed for a while!
So we are still in Spokane (last day) and we were heading to a local aquatic park to go swimming with the girls. Nana had to stop by her work to do a couple of things. While the girls were playing in the lobby in their swimsuits a salesman came in and greeted us and the girls.
Feeling confident, I suppose, Sari proceeded to tell this friendly salesman: “I’m potty-trained!” It was hilarious! Not only Sari’s comment, but also the salesman’s: “Me too!” Then Sari got shy again!