I first have to admit something. I am an indulgent Lulu. I have bought many toys for Levi…many…from the time he was an infant. But, I am very particular in what I buy. It has to be quality and it has to be used to teach …whether it’s learning about shapes in puzzle work, or cars that depict actual vehicles he may encounter…even to a baby doll that teaches the things daddies need to do for a little one. And, of course, we have a plethora of art supplies. I can’t even tell you how I love to buy art supplies to feed his creative mind! Those things just jump in my cart without me even noticing!
I have, from the time he was old enough to understand, insisted that he take care of his toys. We only throw those things intended to be thrown. Every thing is put away in it correct container. And, it is put gently in its box…NEVER thrown. This has been an important lesson to him that things cost money and if he does not care for them they break and are gone forever. We only replace broken things if it was truly an accident! And, that’s MY call!
He’s really very good about following my rules on these things, and we have very little trouble with it! One of the things I have learned through out my 40 some years teaching and raising children is this…the RULES need to be shared first! It’s exciting to have something new to play with or experiment with. And, in the excitement, it is so hard to listen and remember the rules. But, BEFORE the toy or art supply is in the child’s hand…he must hear the rules! ***In the house, the balls stay on the floor.*** Play Doh is used only at the little table and can never leave!***Crayons are only for paper.***Caps go on markers immediately after using and before using another one.***Toys that are not treated gently or used properly are put in Toy Time Out for a week…in full few of the perpetrator, I might add!
Enough about that. Last week, I discovered that my sweet boy had taken about 25 of his little cars into the pantry. He said they were having a picnic. That was fine. I actually think a pantry is a pretty clever place to have a picnic, don’t you? After playing around the food for a while, I suppose the smells got to him, and he decided it was time for him to picnic as well.
Lulu, I need a snack.
OK, Babe, pick up your cars and we’ll have something.
But, they are having a picnic and they are not finished.
Oh, OK, well when they finish, then I’ll get you a snack.
But, I’m really hungry now.
I understand. Just take the cars back and put them away, and we’ll find something to eat.
He said OK…but he didn’t mean OK. He was just kinda stuck there and couldn’t get going. (Been there myself) So, I went and got his grocery cart and wheeled it into the pantry.
Why don’t you put all your cars in the cart and then roll them back into the studio, that will be easier!
He thought that was a good idea and set about the task at hand. Then, I heard the sounds of two of his biggest trucks being thrown with great force into the cart. They slammed together with a great crash! I walked into the pantry with a shocked look on my face.
Have you lost your mind?
Looking up at me in all innocence, I don’t think so.
Did I? Where did it go?
I was trying so hard not to laugh. Did you forget about throwing your cars? That’s not following the rules. Put them away correctly.
In a minute or two I heard him call…Did you find it yet, Lulu?
I had moved on and thought he was talking about his snack. Find what, Levi?
My mind…I don’t know where it is.
Well, what does it look like? I’ll help you look.
It’s clear. It’s shaped like a head. It has all the things I think about in it.
OK, finish the cars, and I’ll find it.
He took the cars back to their place.
Did you get it yet, Lulu?
Come here, Little Man.
He came over to me and, I laid my ear on the top of his head.
Everything’s fine! It’s in there. I can hear it thinking!
Whew! I’m glad. Cause I don’t know where minds like to hide! And, I want to keep all my ‘thinks’.
Now why I ever asked him a question like that, I’m not sure. I’ve never said that to him before. And, I won’t again. I wasn’t using my mind…I forgot that preschoolers think literally. What we use as an expression, is not understood in that way by a little one.
The next morning, I asked him to tell Pa and Uncle Alex about what happened to his mind. He did and, his wise Pa reminded him of a very important Bible truth.
“…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Phillipians 4:8 NLT
Pa reminded him that he had a wonderful mind and these are the kinds of things God wants us to think about with our minds! Levi told Pa that when his friends were hurt or sad it made unhappy ‘thinks’ in his mind. Pa explained to him that that happens to all of us, but that’s the time we pray for God to take care of the things that make us sad.
What a sweet talk the four of us had together that morning. It is such a blessing for us to have the opportunity to spend time with this sweet boy. His other grandparents feel the same as his Pa and I. It is such a privilege to share in his “training up”. We do not take this responsibility lightly. His parents do such a wonderful job of raising him in the knowledge of our Lord, he attends a church with a wonderful children’s program and he is in a terrific Christian preschool. I thank God that this young man is surrounded by those who love him, cherish him, and continually point him toward Jesus! ”
“Thank you, God, for sharing the gift of this delightful boy with all of us who love him! Never let us fall down or be neglectful in our responsibilities to him.”
“I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.” 3 John 4