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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Let Them Eat Grass

I have often wondered how everything we digest - physically, mentally and emotionally - really affects us.  After my 31 years of life I think most of it impacts us in some way, and now that I have a child of my own I am more certain of it. 

This spring, Mae and I were enjoying an evening outside listening to the tractor hum in the distance and watching the cows as the sun set behind the farm in the distance.  I sat little Miss Mae on the ground for a few photos where she smiled brightly and enjoyed the scenes and sounds around her.  Then I looked away to say a little prayer of thanksgiving and for the safety of our farmer while I stared at God’s portrait in the sky.  I turned back around (seriously 10 seconds later) and she was putting a handful of grass in her mouth!  Now granted, I should have known that she would have found something to grab and stick in her mouth as that is pretty standard operating procedure for our little girl.  My eyes widened as I said “no, no” but then realized it was just grass and I’m sure she has ingested much worse when she crawls around the kitchen floor where her dad’s boots sit after a day a long day’s work on the farm.  At the moment I was a little fearful of what may come out the other end, but honestly I forgot about it an hour later and guess what – she was fine.

I know parents that hover – you know like a helicopter – and have pacifier wipes and try to finish their kids’ puzzles, sentences and thoughts.  What happened to letting them figure it out on their own?  Their little brains are trying to figure out the world and digest all these new things including how we react and what we do or don’t do for them.  

Mary Poppins always said “a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down” and I think she’s right but there are lots of different flavors of sugar in this life.  I believe it’s okay to spoil our children to an extent and let them eat a little sweet sugar.  However, I also believe we shouldn’t spoon feed it to them – they need to feed themselves.  Honestly, giving and doing everything for them doesn’t help them at all.  

Eating rocks or grass - whatever your little heart desires.

I’ve told my daughter that she is beautiful to me and loved by me, is amazing to me, seems very smart to me and is important to me – not by everyone else and not the world.  If I told her the world thought she was beautiful, loved, amazing, smart and important then why would she try to develop herself and make the world a better place than how she found it?  

It’s a hard dose of tart sugar to take – one taken with a wooden spoon that has been frayed with years of use – but one that we all need to be reminded of.

After celebrating my first Mother’s Day I have recommitted to raising a thoughtful, independent, selfless child.  So let’s put down the sugar and stop telling the kids “no, no” or “you are so important”.  Let’s let them finish their own thoughts or fail their research paper because they didn’t invest the time or spell check (my mother reminded me to double check my papers but didn’t do it for me).  Let them eat the grass, dirt, rocks, ladybugs or small cow manure particles (don’t judge) – whatever may be on your kitchen floor – and experience what comes out the other end.  They will learn and become a better decision maker and citizen of their community and the world in the future.  

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