All my parenting life, I’ve been hearing about savoring “teachable moments.” Things like, “Look for teachable moments and make the best of them.” I had always wondered if I had just missed these before or I’m just haven’t labeled these as such.
Until Friday when I had my first recognizable one with my 7 year old.
Her friends were talking about a birthday party on Friday night and wanted to know if she was going. She had been invited but I had decided she wasn’t going for a myriad of reasons. When I told her so, she broke down into tears and wouldn’t talk. So since we were all in the car, I talked.
I explained to her my reasoning: the friend wasn’t one of her good friends–just a girl in class. She gets to do so much else. We can’t do it all; we have to pick and choose. Mommy, sister, and brother spend a good amount of time sitting while she gets to do things and this was not one of those times I wanted to sit. Further, we don’t have a lot of money right now to buy a present and to drive to this event (it was a considerable drive from our house).
Essentially, we can’t do everything. Time is limited. We have to pick and choose and since she can’t right now, I do.
I asked if she understood and she said yes. The rest of the ride home was quiet but when we arrived, she went off playing with her brother and sister and I didn’t hear another word about this party all weekend.
I was quite proud of myself actually. One, for recognizing it as such in the moment. Two, for explaining my exact thought process. Three, for her understanding.
I was hoping she’d forget about the party but I think this turned out to be much more valuable in the end. I think we all learned something about life, priorities, and resources; about not following a crowd and about spending the limited time here on Earth doing what you want to do (which isn’t everything).