A hundred years after the famous blizzard, Cyndi and I took eleven first-grade Tiger Cubs to the 45th Infantry Museum in Oklahoma City. The boys loved the museum with its helmets, uniforms, tanks, artillery, and dioramas. The 45th is a fascinating history museum no matter how you feel about wars and the military, power and force.
I like to think we didn't create any little hawks or future military dictators that day. My sons all grew up with a love of history and an abhorance of war, even though they wore every camo "flage" item they could find for a few years.
Perhaps the most significant thing the Tiger Cubs experienced on that field trip was a lunch at the McDonald's across the street from the museum. Each boy brought money for a Happy Meal, and I know for a fact that this was not their very first Happy Meal! I do not carry a burden of guilt for creating any Super-Sized fat Americans.
Cyndi and I talked to each Tiger Cub:
Do you know what you want for lunch? Great. You told me so clearly that I know you can give your own order. You are big enough to carry your own tray to the booth, too.
The looks on their faces and the squaring of their shoulders when they received this gift of empowerment was magical. None of the boys flubbed their orders or dropped their trays. It was as if we had knighted them with Excalibur!
Nearly twenty years later, I note that parents are still doing too much for their kids. That day was an eye-opener for me as a parent who tended to do too much and anticipate too many needs for my sons. We must give our children that permission to attempt new tasks, our patience as they gain self-sufficiency, and our vote of confidence. "I know you can do it yourself," is a far greater gift than, "I will do it for you, my precious iddle-widdle boy."
Sorry about the preaching. I'll now push my soapbox over to the sink and load the dishwasher all by myself.
© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder