Unexpected Education, by Megan Tietz of SortaCrunchy

Megan is the much-humbled, often-stumped mama to two smarter-than-she’ll-ever-be little girls. She advocates an uncomplicated approach to parenting at Simple Kids and writes about faith, mothering, and natural living (sorta) at SortaCrunchy.

Five years ago this month, those two little lines turned up pink and I officially kicked off the all-day, all-night party that is motherhood.

I was teaching back then and was utterly delighted to make the transition from teaching high school juniors and seniors the finer points of literature explication and proper essay structure to teaching my little one the finer points of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and proper building block tower structure..

What to expect when you’re expecting? I did not expect that I would be on the receiving end of most of the learning in the coming years. I did not expect that my children, the children of a teacher, would be such natural born educators.

Now that my oldest is four, I find that her keen sense of observation and her ability to remember the smallest detail of stories read to her and instructions given to her would come back to me in such funny and yet insightful ways.

For example, a few weeks ago we were driving home from a shopping trip out of town when my toddler, Aliza Joy, somehow managed to unscrew the lid to her sippy cup and pour out the contents all over herself. (She can open the un-openable. We are pretty sure she has a future in covert ops.) I pulled over and ascertained that, yes, she and her carseat were a soggy mess. My reaction was – oh, how can I say this? unenthusiastic. It’s possible I was a little grouchy and maybe a smidgen not kind. Evidently Dacey, the ever-perceptive preschooler, felt compelled to essentially call me out on this.

“Mommy? What are you mad at Awiza?”

“Because she opened her drink and made a big, fat mess everywhere.”

“Mama, Jesus wants us to be happy, not grouchy.” Flinch. Ouch.

And then, “Mama, will you forgive Awiza?”

For a moment, I was tempted to pull over again and just crawl under the car and hide, so enormous was my shame and embarrassment for being the Poster Mom for the latest Do As I Say, Not As I Do campaign. We are always trying to teach our children about the power and importance of forgiveness . . . Clearly the teacher has much yet to learn.

Just today, Dacey and I were on a rare one-on-one outing to the grocery store. At the checkout, I took advantage of a toddler-less moment to thumb through the latest People. (I couldn’t help myself. Kate Gosselin was looking at me all sad-eyed next to the two-feet tall headling “We Might Split Up.” I felt I owed it to Kate to hear her side.) It’s possible that as I tried to speed read through the fascinating details of the Marriage We All Love To Critique, I might have been ignoring Dacey. Just a little.

Tug on my arm. Ignore. Tug, tug, tug. Ignore, ignore, big sigh.

“Yes, honey?”

“You shouldn’t read dose magazines, mama. Dey will wot you bwain.”

My own words, spoken so long ago I can’t even recall saying them, coming back to teach me. Again.

Ray LeBlond once said, “You’ll learn something every day if you pay attention.” Good thing, because I’m sort of a captive audience in this classroom of life these days.

Wonder what I’ll learn this week?

What have you recently learned from the children in your life?

7 Responses to Unexpected Education, by Megan Tietz of SortaCrunchy
  1. Marla Taviano
    May 18, 2009 | 9:39 am

    I have that same problem with People magazine! I know in my heart that celebrity gossip rots your brain, but then I see it in the check-out line…

    GREAT post, Megan!!

  2. edj
    May 18, 2009 | 10:31 am

    I came home with an iced vanilla latte from Starbucks, and my daughter (then about 3) told me, “God LIKES it when we share.”

  3. Heather of the EO
    May 18, 2009 | 7:19 pm

    Well, Miles has tried to convince me that he can watch the Star Wars movies at age 3, “because God made Star Wars to fight evil. So it’s nice.”

    Good point.

  4. stephanie (LSL/Bold Avenue)
    May 18, 2009 | 11:41 pm

    It’s sweet how you refer to “the children in your life” to include those of us who don’t have kiddos of our own! Makes me really, really wanna tell you a good story, but I’m drawing a blank. All I can think of is that I learned from our niece Rachel that the Phoenix Zoo used to be the jungle. But that was awhile ago. And not the same kind of learning. Oh well. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of humbling stories of my own. Probably way. too. many.

  5. Elizabeth
    May 19, 2009 | 11:05 am

    I read a book a while ago about how children “raise” parents. They are, without even meaning to be, little reflections of us. Good or bad, I learn a lot about myself from my children. Recently I’ve learned that I’m in a bad mood far too often. How’s that for teaching me to grow up?

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