Monday, November 9, 2009
Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-Teaching Independence
One of my son's favorite television shows is Max and Ruby. Perhaps you have heard of it. It's based on a book series about a rambunctious three year old bunny and his older sister--the ever responsible seven year old who is trying to keep him out of trouble. On a side note: I believe Max is my son's personal mentor on new ways to get into trouble. Anyway, I've noticed before that there are no parents in this cartoon. Occasionally the grandma comes to visit and sometimes the "bunny scout leader" is around. I thought at first that the parents were in the background. Like in the other room or something while the kids played (like the non-speaking parents in Charlie Brown). But the other day, when Ruby, you know, the responsible SEVEN year old was putting Max to bed and he kept getting up, I realized the parents are never around.
Are they working all the time? Did they go to Mr. McGregor's to bring back some dinner and never came home? Are they busy with their hundred other children? Where are the parents?
Maybe it's different in bunny families. Maybe children are independent at the age of seven. I realized this was a great teaching moment for my children. "Wow, look at that seven year old. She puts her little brother to bed, makes dinner, plays with him, and keeps the house clean." I think my subtle messages are working. By the end of the year my children will be ready to move out and get a job (or at the very least pick up after themselves).