I often wonder if our kids notice the ‘little things’. Someone holding the door for an elderly lady, a driver letting another driver into their lane in traffic, a complement paid to someone who looks like they’re having a crap day. It’s important to me that they see and acknowledge little acts of kindness. I want them to WANT to help others- not for any recognition but because it’s good for the soul and for humankind. I want them to be good and to do good especially if it’s of no benefit to them…that’s the only way it’s authentic and not self-serving.
There are lots of ‘little things’ I do for our kids everyday that they don’t seem to notice. Being a Mom (or Dad) can be a thankless job. Sometimes, though, it’s clear that they DO notice the extra thought and consideration that you put into any given task or situation and that’s always rewarding- especially when it’s not your motivation. Also, it’s funny how die-hard sibling rivalry can make kids competitive in absolutely any activity…even proving that THEY are the best recognizer of the thoughtfulness you put into being a decent parent.
I was making lunch for the kids last week when their strong desire to one-up each showed me that they really do notice some of my ‘little things’. It was a surprising gift motivated by fierce competitiveness- not the desire to make me feel appreciated. I’ll take it, though.
Leo: “Thanks for lunch, Mom. Some kids don’t get lunch. Their Mom’s don’t feed them- but you’re a good Mom and you let us eat. You know what else? I like how you draw on my napkin for lunch everyday. My friends like it, too. That means you’re a good Mom.”
Bella: “Well, I know you’re a good Mom because you always let us have friends over- even though our house is already full of kids.”
Mia: “Yeah, but you know how I know you’re a good Mom? We have lots of children but you always remember what we like on our sandwiches. AND when I don’t like the way you did my hair, you re-do it without getting mad. That’s two things. I win.”