A few weeks ago John and I were camping with Zach, Becca, Mack, and Macy. Once the day’s activities were over and we were settled in for the evening, Becca, the girls, and I played several games of UNO. I love playing games with these two little angels. Macy is four, and Mack is six—the perfect age for being able to play.
Becca and I sat beside the girls rather than across from them, though, in order to offer help if they needed it. And sure enough, Mack needed a few reminders that using her wild cards was something she should reserve for when she had no other options.
At first she didn’t get it. “I don’t want to play that card,” she’d say. “I like this card.” The first few times we tried to explain why she needed to hold on to the wild cards, she wasn’t so sure she cared. “I don’t care, I want to play the wild card,” she said again.
Why did she resist? Maybe because she thought the wild cards were prettier? Maybe because she wanted to change things up even though it most likely would have cost her the game later on? I’m not really sure, but what I am sure of is that it didn’t take long for Becca and me to explain to Mack why she shouldn’t waste her wild cards and she was soon playing like a pro.
In the days that followed I thought about Mack and her wild cards and how as parents, we have a responsibility to teach our kids to think things through…to not always play the wild card. Part of being a parent means teaching our children NOT to make choices based on what’s prettier, more exciting, easier, or more popular. Instead, we need to be diligent in instilling strength, integrity, and a strong sense of self-worth in our children. We need to teach them to have the confidence and the ability to see that life is about making wise choices—choices that will lead to the next step in life that is best for them. We need to teach our children that life isn’t about settling for whatever comes their way, but rather thinking things through and having goals and dreams they set out to achieve.
Don’t think this is something reserved for older children and that your little ones can’t do this, because they can. Even toddlers can make choices like picking up all their books or blocks so that they can have a bubble bath instead of a plain ole soap and water bath.
Choices…it’s about teaching our children how to make wise choices and to love them through each and every one they make.
Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used of copied without permission from the author.