“Can I help!”
Sometimes I would cringe when I heard those words from one of my wee ones. It’s not that I didn’t want them to help, it’s just that I didn’t want them to help.
It’s faster for me to do a task such as carry up a bin of laundry to their bedroom, or sort the recycling or sweep the floor than it is for me to do it “with help”
Sometimes when the hours seem to be flying faster and faster and the chores and tasks to be done are becoming copious lists of “not yet” I get tempted to slough off offers of help. I get caught up in clock watching and list checking and trying to ensure everything I’d wanted to accomplish that day occurs.
For a time I would smile and thank them, but refuse their help. I would do it gently and with love, but I wasn’t truly present in the moment with them. I was still too much in my own head, amidst swirls of paper and lists straight out of Wonderland that magically add two more tasks for everyone I erase upon completion. I didn’t think of what I was doing by always refusing their help. I only thought of how much “more” I was accomplishing. Slowly though I’ve come to realize that I will always be able to find things that I didn’t get time to do at the end of each day. There is always the proverbial “more” to be done, more of this or more of that.
Now I look at their earnest faces and I see the caring heart behind the offer. I see that this is a moment to let them help, because in letting them help and praising them for doing so I’m teaching them to be caring, helping individuals. I’m teaching them to go out of their way for those they love, which is exactly the type of adult I want them to become. I’m also teaching them how to graciously accept help so that should they need it (and everyone does at some point) they’ll know how to acknowledge their appreciation to the person helping them.
Now I try to look at the extra time it takes to finish the task as not really extra time being taken away from other tasks…It’s time devoted to helping them grow into the good, caring people that others will want as a part of their village. That means a great deal to me, enough that I try to take a deep breath and push the Wonderland lists that swirl about in my head away enough to smile and say “I would like that, thank-you!”