Updated: Oct 20, 2022
September 14, 2021
Gingerly I stepped into the kiddie pool, dreading the chilly water. Love for my children overcame my desire for comfort, and I took the plunge into the cool water. The plunge into self-denial resulted in fun with my children and a sweet summer memory as we laughed and poured water on each other.
My only regret was that I had not gotten in the kiddie pool earlier this summer with my children. During most of our pool times, I sat in a chair trying to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet, but inevitably I had to jump up and rescue a child from the pool, stop an argument, or bring back a stray child. I wish I had entered my children’s world and enjoyed time with them instead of trying to have my own time which never worked out to my benefit.
This pool episode prompted my thinking about motherhood in general. Simply watching children is much easier than actually engaging with children, yet engaging with children has benefits for the mother (or caregiver) and also the children. Granted, there are times when a mother only has energy or time to watch her children, but when possible engaging with children has a multitude of benefits.
So much of motherhood is spent in correction, and often I find my positive interactions with my children lacking. Playing with my children creates a solid relationship foundation, and with this solid relationship foundation I can do the hard work of building their character through correction and discipline. Without a loving relationship foundation, my task of building their character will be very difficult, and the children will resist my efforts.
Children learn through playing and doing. By spending time with my children during their play, I can develop our relationship and also use this time to teach them. When I say teach, this teaching does not have to be textbook worthy; we could simply count objects or watch bubbles pop. I have a sweet older friend who uses every opportunity to bring children back to the Bible in their observations of the world. This friend is the kind of person who would point out an ant to a child and say, “The Bible tells us to watch and learn from the ants.”
Enjoyment for the Parent
When I played in the pool with my children, I enjoyed them and my time with them! Instead of constantly looking at my phone, wondering if I had kept them outside long enough to merit the awaited phrase, “Time to go in!”, time passed quickly while we had fun together. Childhood is fast and sweet, and I am learning to relish these little moments.
I am challenging myself to engage more with my children instead of just watching them!