Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gettin' Ready (Hands-Off Learning)

We're crazy-close to being late. As usual.

And Zay is buttoning his own shirt.

His tiny fingers work with might. He tries to push the shiny, white button through with his thumb. Then he pulls with the fingers and thumb of his other hand. His chin presses into his chest and his hair falls forward. He pushes and pulls and has two buttons through and it's then that I notice he's mismatched. The buttons and the holes aren't properly aligned.

"You're off, guy," I say.

His hands drop to his sides and he examines his work. He sighs and begins the process in reverse.

And it takes every restraint to not fly my own fingers over the buttons. I want to button him up and shut lateness down and dash out the door because we have other things to do.

But he's getting ready.

He's learning.

Sometimes the best way to be hands-on with teaching my boys is to be hands-off.

These boys won't be here forever. I've witnessed, in fact, that it goes pretty darn fast. And the moments start small. It's buttoning a shirt. Tying a shoe. Completing a chore.

I'm getting ready, too...

ready to someday send him into the world. And the readiness? It starts with baby steps.

Like buttoning a shirt.

So I stand close and watch. I pull my hands back so his can succeed. Hands-off can be tough. It means letting him take the time to learn something new. It means giving him the allowance to make his own mistakes because often this is how we learn.

Someday he'll be way beyond these buttons. He'll go into the world. He'll have his own work, work God has set aside for him, in advance, to do.He'll have his own family. He'll need to provide and protect. He'll do his own thing for the glory and the kingdom of God.

Most of his life will be beyond these doors.

And it's my job to get him ready.

When the job is done, Zay looks up and smiles. I smile, too.

Today it's buttons. Tomorrow the world.

Way to go, Zay!



  1. Ugh! That's so hard. I was getting nervous for you! I need to remember this more, especially with my five year old. We, I mean I, am always late and yelling at him to hurry up! At the same time, I am trying to teach him he CAN do things by himself. It's definitely hard, but he'll be better for it (the doing things for himself, not the yelling).

  2. I hear you, Kathy. That's my life...short and scrambling to get out the door - always half late. Been thinking a lot lately, tho, how the whole, wild thing is a process of preparing them. Now how to not be late? No clue on that! A for effort? (I'm hoping) Take care:)