Getting It Right

Someone posted this comment on the Slugs & Bugs facebook page recently and it reveals something profoundly deep about kids.

Just putting my little guy down to bed and we both started singing…. “Bears bears they got no cares… bears don’t drink from a cup…” I stumbled through the first verse and then apologized to my 3 year old for not remembering the words all that well. He exclaimed “No mama! You got it! You got it JUST right!”

Her 3 year old showed the wisdom of the innocent with that sentence.  His mom got it just right.  She was with him, present, singing, even rejoicing in the relationship that they share. Words, schmerds.

As grownups, it is important that we perform well at our given tasks.  Whether its your profession or your vocation, if you don’t perform well there are real negative consequences.  Unfortunately, that focus on performance can train us into blindness in our relationships.  How many parents have ruined their child’s proud moment by focusing too much on an outcome, rather than forgetting the results and simply enjoying the company of their child.

Last night I took my oldest son to Cub Scouts, and it was time to design his Pinewood Derby car.  Early on, I had to decide whether to try and guide him into a design that would be fast and possibly win the race later, or to let him design the car he wanted.

I guided and suggested and tried to be tactful and encourage certain features, but in the end, I let him design it.  And we had a great time together – which is the point in the end.  But I’ve had to re-learn that lesson many times.

I remember playing checkers with that same son when he was about 5, and it would always make him cry when I made him play by the rules.  He would sob out “I want to play with ‘Jonah rules’.”  And then later I saw him laughing and having so much fun playing ‘Jonah rules’ with his older sister.

For me, it’s good to remember that sometimes ‘getting it right’ has nothing to do with the task at hand.  Unless the task at hand is love.

3 thoughts on “Getting It Right

  1. Good words.

    This Fall, a 9-year old from church asked me to come to his school and carve a pumpkin with him. When I got there and saw all the other adults with elaborate plans for their child’s pumpkin, I panicked and started racking my brain for some creative idea that Ian could be proud of. “Do you want to make a bat? What if we cut out the letters for your name?”

    But he responded, “No, I think I just want to carve a face.”

    I looked around and saw the pumpkin carving templates the other children were using. “Do you want to use one of those?”

    “No, I just want to carve a face.”

    So I let him, offering encouragement along the way. When he finished, he placed his pumpkin (with its lopsided mouth, scrawny nose, disproportionate eyes, and a Harry Potter scar blazoned across the forehead) next to the others. I worried that Ian would be disappointed when he saw how it compared to the others. But to my surprise, Ian kept dragging over his friends and pointing out his pumpkin. He wasn’t interested in competing (like I was.) He was just interested in carving a face in a pumpkin and doing it with me.

    Thanks for the reminder that getting it “right” isn’t the most important thing.

  2. “For me, it’s good to remember that sometimes ‘getting it right’ has nothing to do with the task at hand. Unless the task at hand is love.” – Wow, such a simple statement but the message runs so deep! Thanks for that!

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