A few months ago, we dragged grandma up into the mountains and took some family pictures. We took a lot of pictures, but very few seemed to turn out. Now that we’re finally finished sifting and editing, I’ve uploaded some of the best ones.
We got some really good pictures of Grandma with the grandkids.
And Cheryl always seems photogenic.
A while back, I found my boys arguing with each other. As I was about to intervene, one hit the other. Normally, this happens only when something incredibly important is at stake. In this case, I think it was over who got to play with a particular Lego figure. R2-D2 is pretty cool, so I can see why they were arguing. :)
I took the hitter up to his room and explained that hurting his brother wasn’t acceptable. After some time to cool down, they were friends again and everything turned out alright.
The conversation got me thinking though. There are times when it is okay to hurt someone else. I realized I wasn’t being fair to my kids by telling them it was never alright to hit people. I don’t want them to shy away from protecting themselves or others who need it, if that time ever comes.
I knew that discussing the principle of justified violence would be over their heads. So I came up with 3 simple rules my kids need to follow before hitting someone.
- They are hurting you or someone else
- You ask them to stop and they don’t
- You try to get away and can’t
As far as I can tell, these rules cover the situations where I’d want them to act — mostly in defense of themselves or others who are being hurt. When they get older, I’m going to teach them how to hit so they won’t be afraid to act if they ever need to.
When one of my kids has forgotten the rules, I’ve been able to review them as part of the discussion about why they’re in trouble. And they get it. Even my 4-year-old understands.
The list has worked well for us. It helps my kids pause to think before acting when they’re angry. And each of them realize there is a line beyond which they’re going to get smacked without any protection from Dad. :)
We like to read stories to our kids, but I think they enjoy it more when we just make things up. We usually allow them to contribute to the story, or make them the main characters, which is probably why they like it.
One consequence of this is that they like to tell us stories too. Sometimes we hear some of the same stories we tell them or plot lines from movies they’ve seen.
On occasion, however, they come up with some pretty creative stuff. Here is part of a story our 4-year-old told his mother that she was able to type as he talked.
Once upon a time there was a little stinglash that was named Brayden. And he was a bright green stinglash. He was a ball. And the mommy was coming to rescue the baby stinglash. And the daddy was coming to rescue the mommy. [Editor: He must know about dragons.]
And the stinglash was going in his cave. And the bear opened his mouth and said, “Let’s go back to our cave.” It was a real bear. And there was a little door in the bear. It made a hole in its tail.
Then the stinglashes go out, and it was trapped. They ate some white bread, and they had butter. And he closed his mouth slowly, and he made himself really grouchy. And he munched the bear’s family. ‘Cause that was the robot bears.
Next, the stinglashes run into the water cave where bats and Batmans live. But they were really nice and could talk. They saw train lights up ahead.
And there was lizards up ahead in the train. So the little lizards got into the train. And the little lizards got out and swam in the water before the train got over them — before the lizards died.
The stinglashes said, “What are you doing in the water?” And the lizards said, “What? What are you doing in the water, you two stinglashes?”
“This is our stinglash water.”
“This is our lizard water. This is our home.”
“Oh, ya right. This is both of our homes.”
“Oh, ya right.”
Then bats came along. “And what are you doing here bats?”
“Um, nothing. We were just seeing if you were okay. But we are protecting you.”
“Can you show me how to fly?” The bat was flying stinglash and the lizards. He stucked his claws in them and made the lizards and the stinglash fly. He didn’t want his stinger, just his body, ’cause the stinger could barely see his cord it pod. I mean his iPod.
And the train stopped on the bear cave. And the bear moved the train. They thought it was moving all by itself. It was a polar bear. It was all lights and his pod.
The bats got an idea and the stinglashes got an idea. The stinglashes stinged their stings in the bear and the bats stinged their claws into the bear too. And they forgot another weapon. They forgot guns. And they got their guns and shoot the bear with all of their weapons. And they got whips and ropes and they shoot the bear and they can go up houses and temples and churches and houses and people. Big people. And ’cause they were too small before.
The people come and the bear was there and the people were too small for bears. It was just a bear costume. The bear was a magic school bus bear!
The magic school bus did magic with his tail. He turned them into a lizards — all green and orange. And the magic school bus — the lizards can fly and the bus — the bear has wings — then the bear turned into a bird, and the bird turned his wings into bird wings.
And, the end.
Pure awesomeness. He tells us stories every night while jumping on his bed.