14 Feb A Change of Heart
Jane had been trying to pump on a swing for a long time. Her mother, Trish encouraged her, repeating, “Toes to the tree, heels back to me.” She wondered how long it would take Jane to learn, knowing her daughter would gain a lot of confidence from being able to swing independently.
One morning, Jane ran out to the swing the minute she woke up. As she struggled to pump, something clicked. Getting a rhythm, she went higher. She called to her mother, who pushed open the screen door. “Jane, that’s amazing! You’re getting it!”
Trish had a busy day ahead. She was having a small dinner party that evening. “Jane, we’re going into town this morning. I have to shop and when we get home I have to clean up and cook for the party. You will be a big help, I know.”
“Will we have breakfast first?” Jane asked. Trish went back inside to make eggs and toast, while Jane continued to swing, smiling happily. In minutes Trish called and Jane reluctantly went inside. After eating, Jane tried to go back out, but Trish insisted, “Honey, that swing isn’t going anywhere. I have errands to do. Come on now!”
They had fun in town. Jane picked out beautiful flowers and was treated to a cookie at the bakery while Trish chose the evening’s dessert. Before long they were back home. Jane helped carry in a few things and then went back to the swing, marveling that she hadn’t lost her new ability. Soon she was pumping to the invisible stars and calling her mother, who was washing lettuce at the sink. “Mommy, please come out. I’m really good now. I can pump like a grown up.”
“Jane, I need to stick with what I am doing. I promise, I’ll watch you tomorrow.”
“Mommy, please? Just for a minute?”
“I have to clean up the house. I told you I was busy today. You can show Daddy tomorrow.”
Jane looked so disappointed. Trish suddenly realized Jane wasn’t asking for much. She could just hustle more when she came back in. “Alright, here I come,” Trish called. She beamed to see how high her daughter was going. “You are a great little pumper. I’m so glad I saw you.”
Trish is an attentive mother. What she asked of Jane was not too much, especially since she had explained about the party. Yet, her heart led her to change her mind. It wasn’t out of duty or a bit of martyrdom setting in. She just realized she could give a little and still get her own things done. Their already strong bond was strengthened.
At times, we parents have no extra time to give. Up against a deadline of some kind, we have to stick to our words. At other times, a slight shift in perception makes us realize we can give a little and still do what we have to do. We are not being inconsistent, or giving a mixed message to our children. We aren’t giving in to pressure; we are following our hearts. When there is a chance for a change of heart, do it out of love.
Written by: Anne Martine Cook, Managing Partner & Mom, with 35+ years experience teaching nursery school children.
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