My friend Arnold sent me an e-mail with a PDF attachment with photos and the moving story about an amazing 5-year-old girl in Japan. It showed me that by babying my 6-year-old, I may actually be doing her a disservice.
Here’s the e-mail:
Here is a story about a 5 year old girl in Japan who kept a busy life getting up 6am in the morning making her own breakfast, used the bathroom, washed her face, brushed teeth, practiced piano, fed the dog, went to kindergarten. When she got home in the afternoon, she hanged up clothes to dry, folded the clothing, cleaned the house. She also prepared dinner for her dad.
Why is this little kid doing so much house work? The story started in 2001 when her parents got married. Mom was a cancer patient. After painful treatments, almost like a miracle, she got pregnant. The baby was this little girl. She brought the young couple tremendous joy. Their happiness was short lived because 9 months after the baby came, mom’s cancer returned.
They started living a simpler life, going to bed early, getting up early, eating simple meals. Mom thought that teaching the little girl how to cook is very important in life. Mom started to teach the little daughter how to handle a knife and do house work. She maintained that when one is healthy and knows how to take care of oneself, one can go to live anywhere. As long as the daughter could handle, mom let her do herself, and not helping her.
When she was four, mom gave her an apron as her present. Mom passed away when the little girl was five, leaving the little daughter with dad. She wrote to mom, “I have something to tell you, all the quick meals, I know how to do it myself. Don’t talk badly about other people, and don’t forget to smile. That was what you taught me. Although I still feel that things are difficult, but when the car arrives by the hill, a road is surely there. I don’t cry any more.”
To love your child, you must teach the child to have the capability to live independently. Whatever you think you should teach the child, do it. It’s never too early.
This is such a touching story that I would like all of you, grandparents, mom and dad, parents to take heart of the preceding paragraph. This was a gift of a lifetime from mom to her five year old
I had always wanted to incorporate home economics/life skills into our homeschool, but thought that Lil’ K was still too young. After reading this, I realized that at 6 years old, she is more than capable of doing many things around the house if I only taught her.
So many of our young people, high school, college, and sadly sometimes even beyond, lack life skills to make them self-sufficient. They can’t do laundry, they would rather go through a drive-thru than cook a meal, and keeping a clean house is not a priority. Like the mother in this story, I want Lil’ K to have the capability to live independently, and training her early will give her a good foundation for a lifetime. It also provides her with the ability to contribute to the maintenance of the household and make her a productive member of the family. Besides helping me, I’m sure this will instill some great ideals in her as well.
On Tuesday, I took the time to teach Lil’ K how to prepare a simple meal: miso soup, tossed salad, and rice. I went through everything step-by-step, explaining along the way, and letting her do as much of the hands-on work as possible. For the first time in her life, she held a chef’s knife and I taught her how to properly hold it and chop vegetables for the salad. She was incredibly excited! Of course, this made preparing dinner much longer. In fact, we ended up sitting down to eat at 8:00 pm. But it didn’t matter. It was time invested in my daughter and it was wonderful to see the deep sense of accomplishment she had when she served the meal that she had prepared to our family. She beamed with pride as she declared, “Dadddy, I made dinner all by myself today!” Then, she sheepishly added, “Mom helped a little.”
Someday, she really will be able to say that she made dinner “all by herself.” It is my hope that she can be my kitchen companion, observing, learning, and doing.
This is one of the gifts I hope to impart to Lil’ K. May life never become too busy to invest the time to train our children.