This story is for all you parents out there–including myself–who don’t fully realize the intelligence of a toddler….
We spent the week of Thanksgiving at my parents’ house–a treat for everyone since we aren’t able to make the seven-hour drive as often as we would like. Abel and Amariah always look forward to all the special things that come with being on my parents’ farm. The chickens–gathering their eggs, feeding them, petting them, even just looking at them–were probably the highlight for the kids. Every morning and every evening, when it came time to turn the chickens out for the day or to shut the coop up for the night, Abel made sure he was a part of the chore. (And don’t forget Amariah! The moment she suspected someone might be going outside, she was running for her shoes and coat!)
The aforementioned story comes from one of these outings to the chicken coop. This particular morning my mom had taken the kids up to turn the chickens out while Travis and I stayed in the house (probably watching HGTV (since we don’t have satellite at home!)). Somewhere along the way, my mom gave Abel some instruction to which he responded argumentatively. My mom then said, “Hey, don’t talk to me like that. You do what I tell you to.” To which two year-old Abel self-incriminatingly replied, “Okay, Grandma! Me won’t talk back to you like do Mommy!”
Now, don’t misunderstand the way we run our household. Abel definitely gets disciplined… and disciplined… for talking back. Why he continues to do it in spite of our consistency, I’m not sure. The point is, Abel knows he “talks back” to Mommy, and now I have proof that he knows!
Parents, your children aren’t stupid. Expecting a toddler to understand instruction and to carry it out with happy obedience is not too much to ask. Obviously, we are still working on the happy part of obedience; but let this story encourage you (as it has me) to not grow weary! Don’t buy into the thinking that your toddler doesn’t understand. He does!