Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More spice than sugar?

Gender differences present themselves early. Little boys like weapons. I am certain that a preschool lad raised by pacifists can bite a cracker and turn it into a gun. Their sugar and spice laced counterparts, on the other hand, create hierarchies. A little girl can walk into a room, dart her steely eyes from corner to corner, and gather useful information to help determine which of her classmates will be princesses and which will be royal maids. Yes. I am sad to report that it happens in preschool.

When collecting Pumpkindoodle from her Sunday school class, I saw two blurs, I mean boys, pretending to be warriors while running around a table that doubled as a refuge to a gaggle of bow-headed little girls. My little lassie, with her bow askew, was standing outside the table giving her friends instructions, while another sweet-faced living doll was standing alone, her eyes fixed on her white Mary-Janes.

Teacher greeted me and then politely turned toward the fashionable preschool posse and lovingly said “Girls, I’ve asked you to please not play under the table. And, Jesus does not want us to exclude others. We need to love our classmates.”

As a former outcast and dodge-ball target, my heart sank and I whispered, Is Pumpkindoodle being excluded?”

“Oh no,” said Teacher. “She’s actually the leader of the pack.”

My heart sank deeper, and with a queasy voice I squeaked out my next question, “Is she leading the exclusion?”

Teacher smiled. “No. She’s a sweetheart. She was the first one to come out from under the table and is persuading the girls to join her and invite Angelgirl to play along.”

An audible escape of relief quietly parted from my lips as Pumpkindoodle embraced and kissed my legs. It’s pretty much her standard greeting.

As we exited the building I thanked God for something that I rarely praise…my daughter’s iron-clad will. There have been and will continue to be days where that girl challenges my resolve. We have stood toe-to-stubborn-toe refusing to budge for what seemed like eternity. The child has tested every boundary and performed cartwheels on the thin thread which secures my sanity. Yet, in that moment, I saw fruit. I saw a glimpse of how powerful that strong-will can be when properly harnessed and given to the Lord.

There will still be battles. She’s only four. She has much to learn, and quite frankly my dear, so does her spirited mother. But I delight in knowing that her will is not something to be broken. It is a gift from God. And as with any gift it first needs to be opened and its purpose understood.

Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)


Linda Vujnov said...

She won't be like stairs, that's for sure. You don't want a daughter who gets stepped on.

Alana said...

Ugh. Those dynamics do show up early. I notice them (especially among the girls) as early as 3 or 3 1/2 in my Kindermusik classes. I think as hard as those situations were to deal with as a child, they are even harder as a Mom.

Had to laugh about the cracker into the gun. One of my friends tells a story about her son doing that, only it was a poptart!

Julie said...

Oh I remember the days....though long gone, I still remember. Hug her tight, you will turn around and she will be 21....like mine, who is overseas as I write this and out of touch.

What a precious story, what a precious heart your little one has.

And yes, boys will make guns out of anything they can get their hands on...at least mine did.

Have a blessed night.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

There will be so much about the spice that you will love as she grows and matures both physically and spiritually!

I see my now sixteen year old in your little one. :)

Melanie said...

I used to teach pre-k and I certainly saw a lot of what you are talking about!
Our Happy Happenings
Livin' With Me

Anonymous said...

What a cutie you have! Thanks for visiting my little one's blog. Have a blessed day!

Brittani's Holding Little Hands said...

Just discovered your blog and I LOVED this post. As a mother to a very spirited 2 year old son, I found this very encouraging.

I have often prayed for God to show me the delicate balance of harnessing Park's strong will without breaking his spirit. And in turn, God continues to show me how that strong will is going to serve Him well!

Tori Shelton said...

we call our daughter "spicy" as well... and i am so thankful for the many flavors she adds to our life.

having a natural-born leader is such a blessing when the parents who are behind that sweet little girl are truly guiding her into God's best.

keep up the good work, and the great posts!

Rebekah said...

What a sweetie she is, even if she is strong willed ;)

And yes, boys and girls are different. Just as you described. I had two boys first and then two girls. It amazes me to watch the different ways they play and their different views on the same room of toys

Wendi said...

Once again, I am really impressed and so loving your writing! You have a wonderful way with words. Infact, sometimes when I come across a blog which is so wonderful, like yours, I have to fight that evil little comparison bug again, which whispers of inferiority and questions why I ever thought I could write...:)
Love the story of your Pumkindoodle! I have always reminded myslef that I would rather a strong will over a weak will any day. But, wow!! it can be a challenge to channel that will in the right direction!

Deidre said...

Oh, I love this! I have one just like this and it has been tough at times, but God shows me glimpses of fruit that could only come from Him. I love that. I've always prayed for my girls to be strong and confident and respectful. It's sometimes difficult to teach them 'when' all that is appropriate at such a young age.

Brittany said...

Ohhh to have a girl!!!
I know God knows what he is doing, by giving me two boys, so far... but... ohhh that dress!! SO cute!

Jennifer said...

I just wanted to make sure that you saw my response to your comment about the Weight Loss Challenge on my blog.
I would love to have you join us!!

I will come back and read when I have more time. I have added you to my bloglines.


Alisun@ABrookeInTheForest said...

I too have a strong willed little girl and have thanked God for the will when used for good and when used for stubborn selfishness Oh my, it far from pretty. Good luck on your journey.

My cup runneth over... said...

Loving, kindhearted and strong-willed -- what a great combination. May she always be the "leader of the pack" in encouraging others to show love. The line about how she kisses your legs to greet you nearly did me in...(sigh). I sure miss these days!

Jodie said...

This was great to read! A good reminder that their wills aren't meant to be broken. I have a tendency to be a bit of a bully, to my shame. I needed to hear this. :)

And I love her "standard greeting". Children are so precious.

Amanda said...

How cute! Its always great to see leadership at such a young age! I can't wait for her to ger to come see the horses either!x

Amanda said...

Me and typos! Oh well making those college professors proud! Take care and I really enjoy your blogs!

Lisa said...

I totally agree! I am blessed to see both sides. My older daughter was in a private school that was just horrible and the teacher was even in on it--we switched to a Christian school as result; God works in mysterious ways. The 'drama' still exists but even more at home between her and her sister. My boys are still too young to get really physical but the baby can pack a punch already :0
Your daughter looks beautiful!

elizabeth embracing life said...

My precious little strong willed child grew up and is the most beautiful, gifted, quiet leader, who walks in the grace of God. It's amazing to watch and see how God truly grabs hold of the hearts of these kids and what He does with them. I am happy to see that you get that.

Joanne said...

You have just named what I find to be the finest line in parenting...discipline and encouraging their God given strong will.

I have to say that I have not read a sentence that summed up parenting my two daughter like this one you wrote, "The child has tested every boundary and performed cartwheels on the thin thread which secures my sanity."

Your posts bless me my friend.

Flip Flop Floozie said...

What a sweet sweet story!! I am so glad that you recognize it now while she is so little. I wish that I had with my children...I know you cannot go back in time and do things over...I just think you are going at this in the most right way..
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love new people. Sandy

SKELLER said...

What a precious post. And I did laugh at your opening boy-girl distinctions. Yes, my oldest son (whose young life was completely devoid of guns, violent cartoons and the like) still managed to chew his piece of toast into a "shooter!" What a hoot.

Lynn said...

Thanks for coming by my blog for a visit...I hope you come back again. I just enjoyed spending some time reading through some of your recent posts, and I love your style.

My older sister had a brain injury when she was 2 1/2, and she was left out A LOT. I think it helped me to notice those who are not included.

I also loved your post about PPD, and I can't wait for the next volumes. May many others be helped by reading about your experience. God is SO good!

Gretchen said...

The one thing that's good about these lessons now, is that they're lessons NOW. :) We can train them up while nobody notices their exclusion and then it's not as big a problem. Will they have issues, yes, but they'll also have a good background of love and discipline under their belts.

All the best with pumpkindoodle. You are a wonderful mom to her.

Elizabeth...mommy...etc said...

i love this post

Person(Also Known As Mommy) said...

I hear you on the strong willed child. Turning their stubbornness into dedication to do the right thing is tricky, but its something I've been working on myself with our Monkeypants.

Aleah said...

You write beautifully!
It was fun reading about your little girl...and what I'll be entering into. : )

Gina Conroy said...

I have 3 boys and 1 girl and can relate to what you say here. I have 3 really strong willed kids so when teachers are tell me how well behaved they are in school, I have to ask twice to make sure they're talking about MY kids! Even though they push limits at home and tend to be bossy, it's nice to know they are positive role models in the real world!

it's me, Val said...

I loved that. I know my daughter is so much like yours. It's inspiring to see that there are pluses to their strong-willingness. Thank you for that :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...