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The Buffalo and the Butterfly
One thing about having older (7 and 9 year-old) and younger (3 and 5 year-old) kids is that the older two sometimes become frustrated with the younger ones.
Take, for instance, the nightly bedtime routine. The older boys can pretty much handle everything by themselves. They can take their own baths/showers, brush their own teeth, pick out and put on their own pajamas…you get the idea.
On the contrary, our younger two can become quite upset if they can’t rinse all of the shampoo out of their hair, or squish the toothpaste from the tube. It’s the little things that can frustrate them. Whenever this happens, it seems to baffle our two older sons.
They often ask questions, like, “Why does Lauren Elizabeth get so upset when she can’t get her buttons the right way?” or, “Why does Preston get so angry when you have to help him brush his teeth?”
That reminds me of an old story from when I was young, about a buffalo and a butterfly. I told the boys if they were to find a tiny pebble and put it on the back of a big buffalo, he would possibly never notice the difference. It wouldn’t bother him, he wouldn’t feel it…he would probably never care.
If, however, you took that same small pebble and placed it on the wing of a butterfly, it would, perhaps, render him useless. The weight of the pebble on his fragile wing would be too much for the butterfly to carry.
The very same pebble to one, was completely different to another. This story helped the boys understand that even though things may be easy for them as ‘big kids,’ the very same things might be extremely difficult for their younger siblings.
I thought about this a little more, and realized that I needed take a page from my own lesson book. It’s so easy for us to get frustrated and flat-out exhausted from the daily grind of our lives with the kids, especially now, with school starting again.
Things that seem simple to us as adults-like a morning routine, homework assignments, keeping things organized, the ‘little things’ – become a hassle when our kids don’t do them the ‘right’ way. Regardless of how hectic our day may be, we have to remember that they are young and still learning.
How we act (and react) toward them, will help shape who they become in the future.
I need to try and remind myself that even though the ‘pebble’ might seem pretty insignificant to me, it can mean a world of difference to them…and there’s very little that’s more important than freeing their wings to fly.
Bea lives in North Carolina with her husband Adam and children Christian (8), Ethan (7), Preston (4) and Lauren Elizabeth (3). Read more amazing stories by Bea at Peanut Butter Hair.