I just drove by the car wash today and saw something that made me think.
There was a little boy, about 4 years old, trying to wash his Gramma’s car. He could barely hang on to the pressure washer wand as he sprayed. His Gramma stood behind him and gently guided him along the side of her car.
What made me think was this: How many times have our littlest ones asked or offered to help us do something? How many times have they excitedly asked: “Can I help you make supper Mommy?” or “Dad, can I help you fix the car?”
How many times have we said, “no, honey, you’re too small” or “no, sweetie, I’m in a hurry, I have to get this done!” or even, sadly, “no, get out the way!”
Often, in our rush to get that task done, we do not see those sad, disappointed eyes. We do not see what “you’re too small” does to their self-confidence. They are so eager to be a part of the things we do, and so many times, we just don’t let them!
The Gramma’s Wisdom: Well, that Gramma I saw, I’m sure was perfectly capable of washing the car herself or she wouldn’t have gone to a wand wash. I’m sure she could have got the car washed faster (and saved money!) if she’d done it herself. I’m sure that a 4 year old isn’t likely going to do a “perfect” job on that car and the Gramma would do it better.
But, that Gramma knows all too well how quickly those little hands become big hands. She knows that only a few minutes of patience spent with that little 4 year old boy will mean so very much to his self confidence. That she will be closer to him because “Gramma lets me do stuff”. She will see the smile on his face rather than a tear because she showed him that he wasn’t “too little”.
Her generation knows that children need to contribute to the family and do chores just as much as the adults in the family do. Children need to know how to do chores, clean the house, cook, do dishes, etc. etc. before they leave home! She knows that he will learn that having a car requires work and maintenance, even if his dad buys it for him. She warns us as we complain about the “lazy” teenager when it was us that didn’t let that child help us when he wanted to! Of course they don’t want to help us now!
They grow up so fast. Soon, that little boy won’t even want to be seen with his Gramma, let alone wash her car for her. That Gramma knows that she has got to take advantage of the time that she gets with her little man before it’s too late.
I’m going to go home tonight and when my little people ask to help, I will let them. It might take longer or might make a mess, but what is more important?
Thanks Gramma for your wisdom.
This also reminded me of this poem that I’m sure many of you have read before: