Table Grace

Today’s guest post is from Lori Wildenberg. As a licensed Parent and Family Educator, Lori is passionate about coming alongside parents and encouraging them to parent well. She is co-author of EMPOWERED PARENTS: Faith First (Wildenberg & Danielson) and lives in Colorado with her husband and four children. Visit Lori online at:  http://www.loriwildenberg.com or http://www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com .

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Perfect moms don’t blink an eye when a child spills…the rest of us, perfectly imperfect moms, roll ours!

I noticed the spillage at my home was often accompanied by another unrelated episode which would increase the liquid mess. For instance, in remarkable and unbelievable kid timing, while one child was clandestinely feed the dog bacon under the table, the spiller knocked his cup.

A series of unfortunate events ensued. It may look like this (You might be wondering how I know this. My lips are sealed!): The dog freaks, blasts out from under the table, runs beneath the shower of white, another child tries to nap the pup only to slip in the milky puddle, the sticky wet paws make their way to the carpet and leave their prints on child number four’s homework which has been left on the floor. This all occurs within a Nano-flash-flood-second.

Fact: Kids spill. Another fact: Spills are frustrating.

Kids, big and little, are clumsy. The little ones have no sense of spill prevention and the older ones have an inaccurate comprehension of their body space. Knocking things over is typical and even developmental. So knowing this, what can we do?

To curb my irritation and to train my youngsters, I came up with a mantra for the mess.

“That’s okay, everybody spills. I’ll help you clean it up.”

Now, I could have chosen to go the natural consequence route, “You spilled. Here’s a towel.” There would be nothing wrong with that. It would effectively teach responsibility. But…it wouldn’t show my kids what humility and grace look like.

Admittedly, there were times I spoke my lines through clenched teeth but those words helped me get through the moment and put the incident into perspective.

After all, it’s only spilled milk.

Spills and other accidents are a part of life with perfectly imperfect kids. I want my kids to be okay with making a mistake. To feel safe coming to me when things go wrong. To know, they are not alone. I want them to understand I will be there for them no matter what. I want them to know that family members help each other.

Spills are an opportunity to learn even more than responsibility. They are times where moms (and dads) can model grace and humility.

The fruit of the spillage response comes in observing the older ones speaking the same words too and then assisting the younger ones. This is the loving attitude I hope and pray spills over into other parts of their lives.

What ways have you found to instill some great character qualities in your kids?

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