Monday, July 18, 2011

Ooey Gooey Conviction

Last year I blogged about a MOPS presentation I had really liked. The lady talked about throwing an Ooey Gooey party. I tucked away the idea for a rainy day....and now it's here!
I checked the book she used out from the library to inspire me. And yes it has! This book has definitely been more than just fun recipes and ideas for me. It has also been incredibly convicting as a mother. Lisa Murphy, the author, identifies 4 key elements preschool children need to succeed: long periods of uninterrupted free time, few restrictions, adults acting as facilitators, and lots of outdoor time.
Now, the section about few restrictions piqued my interest. After all, I've always been taught that children need and crave boundaries. But this isn't what Murphy was referencing. Children need, she says, to be in an environment where the answers are more often YES than NO.
This one really got me. Instantly I saw visions of a typical day.
  • "Mommy, can I pour in the flour?" "No, Jack, you'll spill it, let me do it."
  • "Can I play in the mud? "No, you'll get dirty and make more work for me."
  • "Mommy, let's run through the puddles!" "No, Jack, I don't have time."
  • "Mommy, watch what happens when I feed Jude!" "No, Jack, you're missing his mouth."
Yikes! I am guilty. On one hand, yes, kids don't get to do what they want all the time. That's just life. But how often have I turned down requests just to meet my own needs and ignored a chance to teach or let Jack have fun?

Murphy writes, "It is vital that while we are on our journey of becoming more child-centered we take time to examine our own egos and our own control issues...We must determine if we are establishing control with and for children, or over them. We must remember the power in controlling the environment and not the little people in it."

If you read the whole chapter, you will see she is not talking about things like safety or proper behavior (respect, playing with others, controlling tempers, etc.). Murphy is referencing things like play, science, discovery, exploration, creative thinking and more -- all things I want Jack to participate in. But how can he when I am constantly telling him NO?

So this Thursday, we are inviting all the church kids over and Ooey-Gooeying it up! Change is possible!