Sunday, October 6, 2013

Slow Down and Enjoy the Ride

About a month ago I read this article written by a mom who one day had her eyes opened to the damage she was doing to her precious "stop-and-smell-the-roses type of child" with two small words: hurry up.

Wow. This beautifully written, love-inspired article made me realize how often I used the same words with one of the boys I nanny.

I love that all the boys I take care of are so different. The eldest loves structure, learning, leading, and reading. The youngest is a great communicator, even at five months old. The middle brother is silly, tends to float slowly from activity to activity, and often exists in his own little dress-up world.

The problem occurs when I'm watching the clock because in the next five minutes we need to finish eating lunch, use the bathroom, get on our shoes, get buckled into the car, and go so that we can meet his mom for the baby's lunch and then immediately go pick up big brother from school; but the middle child is lazily munching his carrots, making them talk and dance, and telling jokes at the pace of half a bite per minute.

This is where my sin comes into the foreground. I am a person who thrives in routine, and being on time is my platform for that. Being a nanny, though, isn't about me. It is so beautiful that this family can have such different personalities. It's great that this boy can be so stress-free and enjoy his time as a child. Who am I to put my need to be punctual before his need to be himself?

Now that the eldest is in school most mornings, I have been able to rearrange our daily schedule to accommodate his individual pace. We forgo the morning snack and instead eat lunch earlier. Instead of structured activities in the morning, he can free play at his own pace or create a craft from his own imagination. Instead of planning little lessons, I take his teachable moments as they come. We save the structured learning and activities for when all three boys are home together. He still gets the same amount of attention, learning, and variety of activities, but he also doesn't have to hear me nag at him to be faster.

I'm not perfect at it, and sometimes I do still need to tell him to hurry and put on his shoes. I've realized that it shouldn't be my my sinfulness admonishing him, though. Sometimes God puts certain children in our lives so that they can teach us.

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