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They Need Us

There’s a wonderful post going around Facebook right now. It was written by a pre-school teacher, in response to one mom’s worry that her 4 year old “didn’t know enough”. I loved reading it and it reminded me of all the things I need/want to do for my girls. As they grow, I want them to know that their thoughts and feelings are important. That it’s okay to make up silly songs. That exploring the world around them is the best thing that they could do with their time. Most of all, I want them to know, in their heart of hearts, that Eric and I love them and that we will always love them, no matter what.

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Last night, while Eric and Ella headed out to pick up a couple of groceries, Tehya and I went for a walk. We didn’t get very far before Tehya spotted a cat, hiding under a boat, in someone’s front yard. She crouched there, looking at the cat, and telling me, as best she could, that she needed to pet him. She sat like that for a good 5 minutes before I finally convince her that the cat wasn’t going to come out and that she should chase me, only to have her go about ten steps, stop, turn back and go check out the cat. Throughout this time, I kept smiling to myself, because this is what walking with a toddler is all about. It’s about discovery, and learning and being. We didn’t need to be anywhere, except home eventually for bed, so I just enjoyed watching her discover, knowing that all too soon, moments like this would be gone. Before I know it, she’ll be grown and on her own, and I’ll be longing for the days where she wanted to cuddle and check out cats.

While I stood there, waiting patiently, I saw a child, who I’d guess to be about 8 years old come around the corner on a scooter. A few moments later, I saw his mom come around the corner, in her car. I hope the disbelief that I felt inside didn’t show on my face as this mom and child passed me, but I was shocked. Inside my head I was having a debate with myself. I was thinking that there may be a medical reason that this mom couldn’t be walking along side her child. That it was not my place to judge. I didn’t know the whole story. While the other side of me couldn’t believe that I live in a world where it’s easier to drive your car two paces behind your child, then it is to get out and enjoy the fresh air with them, even if it means that you need to jog a little bit.

Two minutes later, I’d finally convinced Tehya to move on and I as we started walking, I noticed this mom had pulled into her driveway and was walking into her house. She was calling out to her son a reminder to put his scooter away. I couldn’t help myself, I judged. I thought to myself, “Did I really just see that? Are people really that lazy?”

While Tehya and I continued our walk… which entailed stopping every two to three paces to check out a rock or a stick, I mulled over the scene I just saw and felt really sad. I was disappointed in myself for being so judgmental. I don’t know this mom or her circumstances. Maybe she’s on her feet all day at work and simply doesn’t have the energy. Maybe she isn’t capable of keeping pace with the scooter any other way. Maybe, maybe, maybe… but that still didn’t quiet the voice in the back of my head that was screaming, “REALLY???” Our kids deserve more from us than excuses. They deserve 100% from us, even on days where we’re so exhausted we can barely keep our eyes open. They need to learn, through the examples that we set, how to be responsible and how to care for our bodies, our minds and the world in which we live. They need to learn from us a sense of right and wrong. Most of all, they need us to hang up our phones, get out of our cars and pay attention to them. They need us. Nothing more, nothing less. But that’s just my two cents worth… what do you think?

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