IÃ‚Â have been reading aloud to my daughter from Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic, stories of growing up in Michigan in the early 20th century, recounted by an aging Grandma. In one chapter, she expresses her recollections of her father, who had said he would confiscate her things that she left lying around the house and yard:
On the way to school, I talked it over with Sarah Jane.
“Do you think your pa would really do that?” she asked.
“I’m sure of it,” I replied. “He doesn’t say stuff unless he intends to do it. Once he told me that if I slammed the door one more time, he’d teach me how to close it.”
“Did you slam it again?”
I nodded. “And he taught me how to close it. I opened and shut the back door for half an hour. I don’t think I’ve slammed it since.”
“Half an hour!” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “I would have cried until he let me stop.”
“Then you’d still be doing it if you had my pa,” I told her. “He thinks you should cry because you’re sorry you did it, not because you’re being punished. He can tell the difference too!”
I couldn’t help chickling as I read. Kids are perceptive. They know who the people are who speak only when they intend to do something, and those who care more about character than crying.
What insights do you think your kids would share on your parenting?