Ingenuity is a trait that I like to encourage in my boys. That said, at times they elect to exercise their creativity in ways that are — how shall I put this? — somewhat distracting to those around them.
Yesterday at Mass, Luke polished off a bag of goldfish crackers with remarkable efficiency, “read” a board book to himself in a voice that competed nicely with the priest’s, and spent a few quiet moments playing with lacing cards before turning his attention to the kneeler. Within the span of several minutes, he found that he could:
*Balance on it, in the manner of an Olympic gymnast on a beam
*Wriggle under it, like a soldier going under barbed wire
*Lie prone on his stomach and inch along, surfboard-style
*Sit on it while using the edge of the pew as a table.
It did not make for a terribly reflective Mass experience for Mom and Dad.
That said, I really do have to admire his ingenuity. I feel a little bit like I did last year, when his daycare provider told us that she discovered him trying to make a break for the backyard via the dog door. (“He’s the first kid I’ve ever had who has done that,” she laughed.)
When things like this happen, part of me gets very exasperated with my headstrong little guy. But I have to admit, there is another part of me that swells with pride and goes, Way to think outside the box, little dude.
It’s the challenge of every mom, I guess: figuring out how to encourage creativity while setting healthy limits, how to promote individuality while teaching kids to respect the rights and rules of others. It’s a delicate balancing act: much like walking along a kneeler, come to think of it.