Honestly, before judging Papa, in a practical sense his suggestion works. Mama gets a few minutes to pick like a crazy woman while grandpa keeps little princess happy and safe.
These mamas, they’re my heroes. Both of them, in their own unique ways.
Little Princess’ mama, she was shrewd. Bringing grandparents, that is the supreme solution to the problem of productivity when strawberry picking with young children.
And Henry’s mama, she’s awesome. She realizes that everything doesn’t need to be an authority struggle. A wise and self-confident parent picks their battles carefully, sensitive to age and stage. In my book, she ordered her loves appropriately with relationship first and productivity second.
Let’s be honest, what mama hasn’t gone strawberry picking with their tribe of young ‘uns and felt frustrated? Angry? Embarrassed? Disappointed? And maybe what we felt somehow slipped out in what we said or even what we did to our kids right there in the berry field. We mamas, we get in a tiz about so many things.
Obviously, when we go strawberry picking, we want to come home with berries, but hear my heart for you, young mamas. Do not sacrifice relationship on the altar of productivity. In the long haul, how you pick trumps how much you pick.
And here’s another thing: Do not sacrifice relationship on the altar of image. In the end, who really cares if the other mamas around you make judgements about your parenting, about your kids’ obedience or lack thereof. You’re not ultimately parenting for their approval. God’s the one you want to impress and lucky for you, he’s your biggest cheerleader. Follow His example and fight for grace. What kind of Jesus do you want to acquaint your kid with? What kind of Jesus do you know? Is he a demanding, finger pointing perfectionist?
My Jesus is slow to anger and abounding in love . He doesn’t treat me like my sins deserve, whether they be blatant disregard for his instructions or careless distraction from his guidance and His compassions are new and fresh each morning. And that’s what I’ve wanted to image about our heavenly parent to my kids. Is obedience important? Yes. God tells us to train them in it, but when we are careless about distinguishing between teachable moments, understanding developmental norms and struggling with personal insecurities, we Inadvertently end up shaming our children. Young mama, trust me. Hindsight is 20/20. You don’t want to do that.
Here’s the thing, regardless of how little Henry’s mama responds to him as he lackadaisically picks berries, whether she lavishes him with kindness or shames him with demands and criticisms, eventually he’ll grow up and be able to pick strawberries competently. He’ll probably even take his own kiddos to the patch hoping to create at least a few decent Kodak moments. And when he does, he’ll either feel a nagging ache of shame hiding in the shadows of his soul or he’ll remember with delight his own experience accompanying his mama to the berry patch.
You choose. Which one do you want to pass on to the ones you love best?
Henry’s family left the field at about the same time we did. His mama’s box weighed in at 6 pounds of berries. Meanwhile, our squad of 4 picked 29.5 pounds. She won’t be able to make jam or freeze berries for winter but her bowl of berries on the kitchen counter will look mighty sweet and taste even sweeter because of the kindness and grace that sourced them.
God bless, little Henry.
Actually, God bless little Henry’s mama.
She inspires me.
May she feel your smile today God because she looked like Jesus.