Friday, June 03, 2005

Discernment

Children don't always see things the way adults do. (No, really?) Take, for example, the stereotypical gift to a loved parent of a fistful of dandelions. Sunny delightful posies to the child, pernicious weeds to the adult, their saving grace being that they will rot so quickly. (The dilemma this can present to the parent involved - and its only humane resolution - has been dealt with very nicely in this post.) But children can and do mature in their perceptions. Young Thomas (three in August), happily squats in a field of dandelions, and chooses, with delicate precision, all those flowers which have gone to seed. He only wants the powderpuff dandelions, and, from his perspective, you can see the appeal: clean and white, ethereal - and they fly away when you blow on them! Flowers and entertainment in one sweaty fist! "I will give these to my mommy. She will yike dem." It's a twenty-five minute walk home, though, and dandelions are not the most hardy of plucked posies. We're not quite home when Thomas stops dead. Looking sadly at the withered, drooping, and now completely bald former dandelions in his hand, he declares, "My flowers are Dead. They are all squooshety. They won't make my mommy happy any more." With a sigh, he drops them on the grass. Poor little man! Discernment: what a wet blanket it can be!

6 Comments:

Blogger Simon Peter said...

That's a very sad tale indeed. One that I have seen played out before my very eyes, but it isn't any less sad.

Princess number two has taken to picking the blossoms off of the Lili of the valley plants that we have and bringing them in and presenting them to us. Have you seen how small those are? It's hard not to squish them just by accepting them and there's no way you can put them in water. Again, the recipe is Smile, Say Thank you, Repeat. :-)

6/03/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin B said...

Kids and flowers are poignant. My 5 yr old daughter has a little pink flower in a large glass that has been sitting on her dresser for a while now, its holding up very well. She picked it up for her mom (my first ex) who came to visit, and it made its way from the dining room table, then to her sunny bedroom windowsill, and now onto her dresser, where it sits patiently alone, waiting for perhaps the next move or another visit from mom.

6/03/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin B said...

Mary, I was just reading your profile again, and I like what you said about being a "pragmatic optimistic", I'm right along with you there, a kindred spirit. That's a lovely description.

6/03/2005 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Squooshety! What a perfect word.

I accept every gift of flora, weed or pedigree, with joy and love. My mother let me know that the weeds were weeds and were not acceptable. My children will know only that I love everything they give me.

6/06/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

My mother, bless her, accepted everything, too: the context (love and appreciation) was far more important than the content (droopy weeds)!

Aren't their words great? It's one of my favourite thing about three year olds. (Thomas will be three in August.)

6/06/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Simon: those would be difficult to preserve, for sure. They also smell wonderful, though. Hmmm... How would she react to crushing them up to make perfume?? My kids once did that with a handful of rose petals and a couple of big rocks, then smeared the resulting sticky pink-grey concoction behind their ears. Lovely, no? No?

Kevin: is the flower still holding up? They last a surprisingly long time when they're set to float in water.

Thanks for the comment on the "pragmatic optimist" idea. It took me a while to come up with that label, but it seems to fit me. Glad to know I'm not the only one. It's a good thing to be, I think!

6/06/2005 09:43:00 PM  

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