Ingenuity is a trait that I like to encourage in my boys. Â 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, Â 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. Â 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. Â I feel a little bit like I did last year, Â when his daycare provider told us that she discovered him trying to make a break for the backyard via the dog door. Â (“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. Â Â
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. Â It’s a delicate balancing act: Â much like walking along a kneeler, come to think of it.