Monday, April 23, 2007

Animal Crackers

On Sunday nights I pack a snack for big church that Charlie can have if he's quiet. He watches the clock and knows when the long hand gets to the six he can have the snack. He likes to make it last as long as possible and I'm amazed at his ability to prolong the life of a bag of animal crackers.

The great thing about Charlie is he is the best "sharer." In his bag he had some whole animal crackers and lots of broken pieces. He set two whole crackers on my Bible while I was listening to the service. I hid them in my fist until his bag was empty. When he put the last cracker in his mouth and the look of disappointment that comes at the end of a snack filled his eyes, I opened my fist and handed him one of the crackers. He smiled a great a big smile and bit the cracker in half. He held it out to me...and then took it back and bit it in half again. He handed me the leg of a camel for myself.

I held out my fist one more time with the last cracker. Thrilled with the opportunity to redeem his sharing habit he instantly bit it in half and gave me the bigger half. I'm fairly certain he gets his sharing quality from his dad.

When we were first married and incredibly broke (as most newlyweds are) Chad would ask how much we had left in the account after the bills were paid. I'd tell him and he would promptly give it away. Give it away. It would make me so crazy! I'd work hard to stretch our pennies and he would give away the clothes on his back (not in a metaphoric way- he has really given people the shirt he was wearing). But on the other hand there is no greater quality than to know all this "stuff" is for giving. Time, energy, clothes, money, food, shelter...the more we have the more we can give.

I'm so proud to see Charlie copy this behavior. A week ago someone gave him a brand new Superman action figure. Brand new. And the best part was he had done something to earn it which made him take even more pride in it. As soon as Henry saw the new toy he reached for it and Charlie said, "Henry! Look! A new Superman for us to share!"

I told a new parent friend that kids don't just love their parents- they adore them. And they show it by copying the behaviors that are the strongest. I'm not quite ready to confess the habits my kids copy in me (not good ones) but I will brag on the ones that they have picked up from their dad. Those are the ones I'd like to copy, too.


thehomespunheart said...

This is just precious and something I've been challenged about lately. Do I want my girls to copy my behavior? Sometimes yes, sometimes definitely not. Thanks for this challenge and encouragement!

Anonymous said...

That is so sweet! And such a great lesson in there for us parents.