This is my Great-Grandmother’s tea set. When it was passed down to me as a little girl, my Mother was very nervous, but she let me play with it when I was 10 years old. When I got the tea set it had been cracked and glued back together, a few of the tea cups were missing handles. It had been well loved. Somewhere it changed from a well-loved and used tea set to on display. Right now it sits on display in my dining room in our “china cabinet.”
Ever since first noticing it at age 3, my daughter has been obsessed with it. She has asked and asked when she can use it. I kept telling her “later, not yet.” Finally, I told her she could use it when she turned five. We’ve been having tea parties with real tea sets for years, so I knew she could handle it. But, I’ll have to admit, I thought she would forget.
She didn’t. She kept asking once she was five, but I always had the excuse of “now’s not a good time, let’s do it later.”
This past year we’ve been studying the American Revolution, and we went to Williamsburg, and read the American Girl story Felicity, and watched the movie. Princess has been wanting to have a tea party just like Felicity had for 3 months now. Finally last week I let her do that.
She was so happy.
Which got me thinking. Have you ever seen the Lord of the Rings movie or read the books? Do you remember Gollum? He desperately wanted the one ring back crooning about it and calling it “My precious.” What things do I think are precious that I don’t want to let go of, but could help my kids learn?
I have a tendency with things I’ve had a long time to think of them as precious and special and not be willing to let my children use them. I’m afraid they will get dirty or broken or spoiled somehow. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to just let my kids use things because they ask. They still must be ready to use it.
I even struggled with this on consumable items, like beads or fabric. I wanted whatever item it was to be there for that “perfect project” I would someday do. You know, that one that will be announced from on high and everyone will see it and be amazed. THAT project. But, I’m not doing that now.
I’m letting them use the beads and the fabric, I may wince at them going through 200 pony beads in a day, but the joy and the skills they are learning is worth it. I still do have to provide guidelines. I have to teach my kids how to cut the fabric. You don’t just cut a small hole out of the middle of a 10 yard cut of fabric. You place your cuts carefully.
In some ways it’s like our Christian walk, it says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.” I am working on finding what things are profitable for my children that I would reflexively say no to. So, I am saying yes to tea parties where we apply all we learned of the colonial lifestyle, that is profitable. I am continuing to say no to staying up late because they don’t want to go to bed. My time at night with my husband is precious to me, and that is something it is not yet time to give up. My children are young enough they still need an early bed time, even if they don’t believe it. I still need time with my husband to recharge for the next day.
Question from the HSV team: What are some areas that you could ‘let go’ of in order to facilitate your children’s learning and exploration? Still, what are other areas that you’re not willing to budge on because you feel overall it’s not the time or season?