The other day I was enjoying playing with Playdoh with my granddaughter. I had some new Playdoh which was soft and pliable. It smelled new and each color was in its own container with its matching lid. She had a little fun toy in which you put the Playdoh in a plastic man and woman, then you turn the crank and it pushes the Playdoh out of the top holes like it is hair growing. (It’s pretty cool actually — I recommend it.) On the man figure, it also comes out in the beard. We were having a great time until…….she decided she wanted to mix the colors.
I was desperately trying to keep the colors from mixing so they could stay looking nice and go back into their containers with their matching lid. I could see that I was starting to stifle the fun. So Grandma Mae (that’s what my grandkids call me) finally gave in. My granddaughter shrieked with great joy as the hair came out pink with orange and purple and blue. Even more delightful was when the beard was colorful. Elated, she did it over and over again, never tiring from the fun. Her other grandma used to say, “Does the fun ever stop?” That quote kept ringing in my ears as I watched her.
I could feel a lesson arising. My rigidity was hindering the enjoyment of it all. I almost missed out on her joy and fun because I was so worried about the Playdoh. God was saying, “Lighten up, Grandma. It’s a minor.”
Have you ever decided to lighten up on the rules of a game, like playing just ladders and not chutes in the ‘Chutes and Ladders’ board game? It’s way more fun without having to slide back down when you’re almost to the end.
Of course, every family has important and necessary family rules. I am all for them. Without them, it would be chaos. Just be careful that they matter and aren’t pointless and petty. Mike and I have a saying, “Major on the majors, minor on the minors.”
What do I mean? I would consider cheating in a game a major. For example: If I am playing the game, “Battleship,” and I can see that the child is sneakingly moving the little plastic ships around on their gameboard because their ships are getting hit, I consider that a major. I don’t tolerate cheating. I deal with it quickly, and I emphasize integrity. I make it clear that “it is way better to lose than to cheat.” Honesty is a virtue that needs to be developed from a young age.
I also do not allow a child to quit the game because they are losing, even if they dress up the reason for quitting with some other reason. My response is, “Nope, you finish the game.”
Major on the majors, minor on the minors! That quote helped us navigate through parenting.
God bless you,
Mary Ann / Mother Hen