Sunday, January 6, 2013

Teaching Lessons

The Hubs was very excited this year that Bjorn was finally old enough to get the ultimate little kids toy as a present - a big boy bike (with training wheels, of course).

After spending less time than expected putting together the 6 pieces the bike came in (it wasn't from IKEA), The Hubs gave it a little test push around the living room.

"With Bjorn riding this bike, he doesn't need his tricycle. We should give it to Peanut." he said. 

"You're right." I replied. "But we need to make sure Bjorn thinks it's HIS idea to give her his tricycle. So he doesn't get angry or territorial."  

We brainstormed ideas on how to approach the subject ("Wow, Bjorn, now that you're a big boy, do you need this tricycle anymore?"), asking leading questions that make him think he is making the decisions, ("Where should we put the little kid tricycle now that you have a big boy bike?") and pushing him subtly and promptly to giving his little sister the trike he has used for years ("Peanut looks like she wants to go for a bike ride, too. I wonder where we can get a bike for her?").

Finally we were satisfied that we could trick Bjorn into giving his little sister his ruby red Radio Flyer. 

Christmas came and Bjorn was just as surprised and excited about his big boy bike as we thought he would be. Heading out later that day for his first bike ride, we stepped into the garage to get the bikes, and The Hubs and I prepared to begin the con.

But before we could open our mouths, Bjorn ran over not to his new bike, but to his old tricycle. 

"Peanut, Peanut - come here!! Peanut, THIS can be yours. Then you can ride with me around the block. C'mon, Peanut, I'll help you get on." And he put Peanut's little helmet on her little head, helped her onto the tricycle seat and patted her on the back. "See, Peanut? This is the perfect size for you! Now come with me and let's ride our bikes together!"

Her "new" bike

Looking for birds

And my heart melted. 

Here I had planned exactly how to trick my kid into being a caring person and a giving big brother. I had actually rehearsed what I would say to con him into being the kind of kid I wanted him to be. Practiced how to deceive in order to make him a better person.

Then he goes and does it all on his own, without any prompting or trickery. Teaching me to look for the best in people, rather than assume the worst. That sometimes people are good people, and there is no need for tricks or cons.

Just when you think you are the one teaching your kids lessons about life, they turn around and teach you. Amazing. 

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