My older kids HATE the Herbert the Snail song which I would sing to them when they were impatient – “Have Patience. Have Patience. Don’t be in such a hurry …” Now I’m singing it to myself.
After reading and watching Helle Heckmann’s work, “Chidhood’s Garden” I was convicted to slow down my life, I just didn’t realize how frustrating it would be.
We go through our morning routine – personal devotions (thank God I didn’t forget this one today!) , breakfast, dishes, chores …
“Time to play outside Rose. Would you like to go to the park today?”
“What do you need to do before we can leave?”
“Put my puzzle away. Get dressed.”
Three out of five of my children would throw the block puzzle pieces into the toy box – never to be found again. If I was lucky, one of my five would have put the blocks back in the original case haphazardly and put the case away. Then there’s Rose …
She has to put the puzzle together inside the case.
5 minutes later, she’s done. Or not …
She has done the puzzle – cow picture up – on the window of the case, so when she shuts the case and looks through the window the tractor picture and not the cow picture is showing through the window.
Therefore, she must redo the puzzle.
She dumps it out.
She thinks it through and realizes she must put together the puzzle on the opposite side of the case – away from the window.
10 minutes later (between the thinking and redoing the puzzle) .. she’s done.
Or not … When she closes the case, holds it by it’s handle, and looks through the window.
Sure enough, the cow picture is showing … but it is upside-down!
She opens the case and dumps it.
She sits and stares at it.
10 minutes later, she asks how to do it – No kidding she stared at it for almost 10 minutes without saying a word!
I take a deep breath and tell her – when really I wanted to throw the puzzle pieces into the toy box abyss.
She proudly completes the puzzle so that the cow picture is correctly seen through the case window.
Now time to get dressed.
She picks her clothes and lays them out to look at them (is this normal?).
She decides she wants two pig-tails, so grabs the pack of rubber bands.
Unfortunately there are five colors left on the scrunci pack.
She methodically takes two rubber yellow rubber bands off the pack and lays it on top of her shirt and stands back and looks a while.
She places the yellow bands back on the cardboard holder, and takes two orange off, lays them on her shirt, stands back, contemplates.
Returns the orange and slides the pink off – does the same.
Exchanges pink for red – same old, same old. Puts red back and tries out purple. She finally decides on one yellow and one purple.
This whole process took 20 minutes of my life! I have to admit I sat and watched and was somehow mesmerized by the entire process.
If you’ve been figuring … that’s 45 minutes to put one puzzle away and get dressed before we can head to the park.
I’ve been learning:
- to sit on my hands – instead of jumping in and doing it myself
- to bite my tongue – instead of scolding, rushing, or nagging
- to observe – not instruct
- to appreciate how God made her – much more meticulous than myself
- to have patience – we really didn’t need to get to the park at a given time
I also realize that the process she took to get ready taught her valuable lessons …
- critical thinking and problem solving as she figured out how to put the puzzle in the way she wanted it to go
- Creativity and self expression in choosing clothes – and Scruncis
- Self -confidence in being able to do it herself at her own speed
Maybe it was 45 minutes well spent. Maybe I will someday learn to enjoy this slower pace , for now I have Herb in my head singing, “Have Patience. Have Patience. Don’t be in such a hurry …”