Friday, 31 May 2013

Teaching Grace How To Cut The Lawn - Letting Grace Grow Up

Daddy giving instructions

    I am a smother mother, I admit it.  It is a real effort for me to allow the kids to have some freedom, some independence... in other words to grow up and take chances.  I would bubble wrap them if I could, I hate that the idea that they could ever be hurt by the world.  By doing this, I am depriving them of every life lesson that they could ever learn by failure and by being hurt.  Sometimes I need to just take a step back and a big breath and actually think about what I am doing.  I get angry because my kids seem ungrateful and expect everything to be handed to them, and yet I am scolding them for the very things that I have taught them.  I need to give my head a shake and rethink this sometimes.

Little Girl discovered that it's harder than it looks.
    The other night Christopher was out cutting the grass.  Grace came up to me and asked if she could try cutting the grass.  My first instinct was "No, babies don't cut grass ... it's DANGEROUS!"  I swallowed that.  How often do children ask to do chores?  If she is interested and wants to, shouldn't I respect that and allow her to try?  Yes, cutting the grass could be dangerous (one of my sister's friends mom's had a lawnmower cut off her foot.  They reattached it, but it has always haunted me.), but if we teach her the way to do it safely, it is no more dangerous for her at almost 12 (three more days she would tell you with glee... me I miss the little baby) than it would be for her at 14.

...and that the handle vibrates and
 makes your hands feel funny.
    I wasn't sure what Christopher's reaction to this request would be.  Christopher is very particular about the way that he likes the grass cut.  When he was in university, he worked at a local golf course during the summers.  It was his job to cut and maintain the course.  This early experience branded lawn care into his brain.  He likes that grass to be a certain height.  It must be cut in a diagonal, but harlequin  pattern is really the visually appealing.  He gets upset when I cut the grass (big surprise, I'm all about getting it done.  So what if there are all kinds of patterns on the grass... it's done, isn't it.)  I waited, holding my breath when she asked him.  I was all set to jump in and explain to him why it's a good idea to let her take chances, that this is an excellent growth opportunity for her.  He said yes.  I was pleasantly, but completely surprised.  
    Christopher had said yes, without hesitation... this was a surprise.  Soon he was leaning in and explaining the safety issues.  He walked along side her as she cut, waiting incase she needed help.  She had this big self important smile on her face, this was the proof that she was indeed a big kid.  She only did a few strips of lawn, but it was a huge deal.  She felt good about herself.  We were happy that she had taken the initiative and asked to help.  It was a win win.  Will she "ask" to cut the lawn again, I don't know, but I do know that this was a really big step for all of us.  We as a family stepped out of our comfort zone, and it was o.k.

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