One of the greatest life lessons I feel I have learned since becoming a father, is patience. I am sure most parents can attest to the fact that having kids, especially smaller children, can really slow down your day and be frustrating at the best of times when you are in a hurry to go somewhere or get something done.
We were fortunate enough to have our son in daycare/pre-school that either was or had Waldorf philosophy. He helped prepare (cut with a butter knife) the fruits and veggies for snack, made soup and baked bread a couple times a week. The children also helped with gardening, folding laundry and setting the table and cleaning up at snack time.
As my son has gotten older and because of his tasks at school, I have allowed him to help me out more when I am doing chores around the house and he offers to help. There is always the urge to want to tell him “no” because it is much quicker for me to just do it myself. I won’t let him help when there is a chance he might get burned or cut himself.
It has always broken my heart to see my son upset, especially when it comes to telling him “no” he can’t help me out (until he’s older). Growing up, there were times I wanted to help out and was not allowed and at times, it really upset me. I don’t want to do that to him. There are times when there really is nothing he could help out with and I do have to tell him no. Other times, I will just make up something for him to do because of the sense of pride he gets from helping out – even if it’s just retrieving a bowl from the cupboard that I don’t need.
I worked pretty fast preparing the fruit for our Cherry and Apricot Canning and can have several pounds of fruit prepared for canning in a short amount of time. The cherries just need to be stemmed and then washed while the apricots need to be washed, cut in half and pitted (we don’t pit our cherries). My partner then packs the jars, fills them with water and then into the canning water bath they go.
When we were preparing the apricots for canning, my son wanted to help us. I had decided he could pit the apricots after resisting the urge to tell him “no” he couldn’t help because it would have slowed down the food prep. I cut the apricots in half, threw the half without the pit into the bowl and placed the half with the pit on the tray in front of him.
Pride ensued as he kept exclaiming that because he was helping out, things were speeding up. I would just smile and agree because the sense of pride he had in helping out was worth more then me pitting the apricots myself and being done a few minutes sooner.
If you are a parent yourself and have kids that want to help out, do you let them? Do you find creative ways to include your kids in what you are doing? Or do you (still) feel the need to get things “done faster” without them?