Not So Wordless Wednesday
If you haven’t noticed, I recently learned about the Wordless Wednesday tradition of simply posting a picture for the day. The picture is supposed to speak for itself and give the blogger a break from writing yet another stirring, thought-provoking piece *insert laughter*. When I first chose this picture I was mainly thinking, “Cool! Kids washing dishes and a cute baby butt…this will go over well with my readers!” I could’ve left it at that, but the more I looked at this image, the more I kept having an inner discussion with myself about all the unspoken values that were simultaneously happening when I snapped it.
First, this picture is the upside of having a broken dishwasher. Second, I have found nothing better to distract the kids from getting on
my each other’s nerves than good ol’ housework. So, I asked for volunteers and immediately my 6 year-old son and 21 month-old daughter came running. I showed him how to fill a sink with soapy water, soak dishes, and use a sponge. I showed her how to rinse and carefully put aside to dry. She of course got lost in playing with the water, but I still popped by occasionally to show her and rinse the pile my son was making. I’m not surprised that kids can be taught to do so many things you wouldn’t think them old enough for, but I’m always amazed to see it in action. Breaking down any activity into sequential steps and letting them follow through with hands-on experience is a recipe for success, understanding, and satisfaction. Yeah, it might’ve been easier and faster for me to wash the dishes in 10 minutes compared to their 45. But what would they have gotten out of it? Probably just a mom tired of cleaning up after them. Instead, my son was really thinking about the whole process of washing dishes. He said to me, “Wow, there are a lot of steps to washing dishes. One person washes them, one rinses them, one dries them, and one puts them away.” I told him that was the reason I had 4 kids!
It wasn’t long before his 5 year-old brother wanted to help…imagine that, kids wanting to help each other do housework! My goal of teaching teamwork and responsibility was happening right before my eyes and with very little effort on my part. My kids were joyfully learning life skills and gaining independence. One day, washing dishes will just be washing dishes but today, washing dishes is fun work that is giving my Aumies a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
Oh, and let’s not forget that cute little baby butt…the result of my 21 month-old exploring potty training on her own. Sometimes I feel guilty that baby #4 is doing so much by herself and then I think, wow, it’s amazing what kids will do when it’s modeled for them and not forced. And why should I feel guilty when I see that same sense of satisfaction after she pees and poops in the potty at home, in a public restroom, on a plane!
Having four kids close in age has been made way easier by nurturing their independence and having confidence that they are capable. I took one more look at the picture above and it left me speechless, or shall I say “wordless.”