Friday, June 4, 2010

day 151: exasperating our preschoolers

“Daddy called and said that he is not going to be home for another half an hour, so my brother helped me set up army men. We worked and worked, making the forts and setting up all the cannons and everything. We got done setting up just in time to eat dinner. Mommy said we could leave it out for later.”
                           “Jonathan’s Journal”

One thing I loved about the routines that I had with my little ones is that they were never bored. They never complained that they had nothing to do. Or said they were bored, etc. Ever…I really cannot remember any of my kids ever being bored, ever—no matter what the age. For example, in today and yesterday’s excerpts, Jonathan had run out of time and didn’t even get to his army men yet. (Of course, above, since Dad was coming home late, he got to them.) His day was coming to an end, but he hadn’t done everything his little heart wanted to that day!

One problem we did always have was setting things up to play with and leaving them out. This was not conducive to a large family with little kids. When we had a bigger house, we could let them set things up in a room and shut the door. In our small house, we do not have that option. If you have that option, I recommend letting your kids do that.

We always encouraged our older kids to play a big role in the lives of the littles. Some day I will post Jonathan’s salvation testimony he wrote in seventh grade—and how his big brother read Scriptures to him at night and ultimately led him to the Lord. It is priceless. In the passage today, Joshua was helping Jonathan set up his army men. Playing with Jonathan, despite the ten year age difference, was one way that Joshua built an enduring relationship with Jonathan that is still strong today at their ages (twenty-seven and seventeen—at ten o’clock on a Friday night here, Jonathan is in town playing basketball with Joshua and some other guys—still playing, just different games now!).

Lastly, I want to point out the importance of not exasperating our children. The Bible says that fathers, specifically, should not provoke their children to wrath. One way that we provoke or exasperate our children is by rushing them all the time. In the excerpt above, Jonathan was happy because he was permitted to leave his army men set up for Dad to see and to play with later. To have him take it all down immediately, when he and Joshua had just set it up, would have definitely exasperated him.

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