From Behind the Puppet Stage

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While some of our grandchildren were visiting last Saturday night, we had one of our draw-the-activity playtimes so that each could enjoy some of his or her favorites. This is an idea I have shared with you before. Each child chose four activities. I wrote each activity on a separate card and they took turns drawing a card.

Our seven-year-old granddaughter loves to play house. She serenaded our pretend family on a musical washboard. As “Mama,” I prepared a play food meal for all of us plus the three dolls who were part of our family. The two-year-old helped me set the table. Soon we all went to “sleep” after our granddaughter assigned each of us different bedtimes depending on our pretend age.

Our five-year-old grandson led us in playing library. He used two dining room chairs to make a check-out desk. When we brought our children’s book choices to him, he “scanned” them. By the time Notty chose his book, our librarian was turning off one light after another. “Is the library closed?” I asked.

“It’s about to be,” our librarian answered and he continued to turn off lights. Notty got his book scanned just under the wire. This child pays close attention.

It was no surprise when our two-year-old grandson chose books about fire engines. He loves them.

The seven-year-old also chose for Notty and Little to do a puppet show.

Ray and I scrunched behind the couch while the children watched from across the room. In no time, the two-year-old was behind the couch with us putting on puppets so he could be part of the show. We ignored the protests from the “audience” about what the little guy was “supposed” to do and incorporated his puppets into our non-existent script. He didn’t know he was “supposed” to watch. Naturally he thought playing with puppets was more fun that watching them.

This incident prompted me to think about expectations. Each of these children acted in ways that were appropriate for his or her age. Many adults expect appropriate two-year-old behavior from a two-year-old, but expectations for older children and adults can get all mixed up. One cause is that children simply don’t develop at exactly the same rate. Our expectation for one child at a certain age might be all wrong for another child at the same age.

Not one child is exactly like any other. God is too creative to make carbon copies. As a homeschooling parent, you can help each of your children learn in his or her own way and at his or her own pace. Sometimes it is tough to remember that just because a child is not at a certain point at a certain time does not mean that he or she will never get there. Strict timetables are for buses, trains, and planes — not for children.

Be brave. Give up cookie cutter expectations. Enjoy the unique blessing God made when He created each of your children.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14


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