We had our first week of Wednesday night programming at church last night, and Lintilla and I were assigned to the preschool set. Well, actually, it turned out the kids ranged in age from two to five. Even though the term “herding cats” comes to mind, it went extrordinarily well.
Lintilla and I learned something about ourselves last night, though. When our kids were that age, we did it weird. We never baby-talked to them (even when they were babies), we had an expectation that they would sit still and listen at appropriate times, we spoke to them, both in tone and vocabulary, as if they were little adults. We rushed every stage of development: they were on solid food early, potty trained early, in full size beds at 18 months, given independent tasks at two years, and so on. We were never harsh, we just had certain expectations, and children usually rise to expectations given to them.
Sometimes, a little shadow of doubt creeps into my head. Maybe we did it wrong.
Maybe Zaphod’s apparent sociopathic personality can be traced to my parenting methods. Maybe we are the reason Trillian is so quiet and seemingly unsociable. Eventually, all the other kids will catch up to them academically, so what did we gain by rushing things?
But then again, such doubts go against my parenting philosophy: that a child isn’t a building to be designed and assembled, but a flower to be nurtured. I still believe this, so I must ignore the doubts.
Anyway, some of the kids last night were so cute. Sometimes I miss that time as a parent.