Letting Children Say YES!
After experimenting with a natural, authentic home rhythm and routine to suit our values, needs, and interests over the yeras, it was a joy to see that healthy habits and a sense of responsibility have taken root. I've been sick for over a week with a flu and fever. Last Monday, on my third day of fever and flu, I dragged myself to the kitchen and saw my daughter Seikai busily washing dishes in the counter after her snack. "I was trying to surprise you!" She exclaimed when she turned around and saw me. She then shooed me away and asked for me to come back when she was done.
The next day, after she kneaded dough and formed her pretzels on the cookie sheets, she proclaimed, "I think I'll go wash the dishes now!" She fitted her hands into her purple gloves and started scrubbing with soap, piles of cookie cutters, mugs, bowls. A few minutes later, the sink was sparkling clean and the dish rack was mounted with dripping baking utensils. She then wiped her apron, took her gloves off, and holding her chin high and chest out, went to the fridge and moved the "Washing Dishes" magnet from the "To Do" column to the "Done" column. After her snack, she washed her own dishes again. All of her own volition. She even offered to give me a heal massage!
Though I know that we have a well-maintained routine, I do still worry that when I get somewhat bed-ridden like this, I won't be there to hold the form of the day. Watching Sekai take hold of her responsibilities for the week, playing by herself (as well as finding others to play with), making art and her own costumes and toys, making her own dance choreography and songs, all the while moving through the daily and weekly routine and rhythm with ease and with only a few reminders from her hoarse-voiced mother, warms and comforts my heart. I really should be sick more often!
Kahlil Apuzen-Ito is a LifeWays graduate and lives in Hawaii with her family.