Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." ~ General George S. Patton

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I liked watching the way this one worked itself out...

Recently we have implemented a "chore chart" in our home.   The two older children have taken to this quite seriously and it's been interesting watching it unfold.  In the past, either my husband or I would take out the kitchen trash - right on out to our dupstey-dumpster.  That, which our trash can is so fondly called.

I just wanted to share a little something that happened the other day that reflects the above quote - a.k.a. the title of this post.

As this was taking place, the quote immediately came to mind, because as a mom I can struggle a lot with telling my kids how to do something, with my full expectation(s) and all, and then wonder why it is my children can't figure it out on their own at a later time.

Caleb is six.  He is old enough to "take out the trash".  It was his turn anyway.  He's helped us do this before but it was never officially his sole responsibility.  I handed off the closed up bag and he headed out the door.

All along I wanted to give "advice" as to how to best handle the trash bag when he got to the can.  Instead I just watched - out the window.  We have the can set up onto a raised porch type area so it's about 10'-12" off the ground.  He climbed up, dropped the bag to his side and now with two hands lifted the lid.  The lid swung up, over and back - like it's meant to do.

Caleb took two hands and managed to lift this bag nearly up above his head and "flung" this bag into the bottom with a thud.  Here is where it got tricky.  I could tell he was having trouble, trying to use one hand to lift that heavy lid back up over onto the opening of the can.  

Here is where I was tempted, big time, to yell out ideas and or suggestions.  Here is where and when I was expecting the "whine" and "complain" to come, saying that he couldn't get it.  As he continued to wrestle the can's lid the can, itself, would move and shift and almost slip off this porch edge.  I was imagining the worst. Yet, he continued to try...

I was proud.

Soon, he stopped long enough to think.  (HUGE!!!)

I was even prouder.  (I was so enthralled with this unfolding moment - I didn't even think to grab the camera.)

He hopped down onto the grass and with two hands - figuring out - that if he would get two hands underneath the lid, he could use his body's pushing weight to lift and heave-ho this lid back up to it's rightful place.


The lid landed and off he scampered back into the house.

The kid had the hugest smile on his face.  Kinda like, he had the tiger by the tail on this one!


I thought he could I knew he could do it... and I let him know. ;)

"Never tell people how to do things.  Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." 

~ General George S. Patton

Now.  If only I could let this kind of thing happen more often.

Are you one of those mom's who finds it easier to just go ahead and do or tell (always) how to do things?


  1. sadly, I am!

    And not only with my children but everyone else in my life.

    But this I know. And I'm getting better all the time!

    Enjoyed the story and the quote.

    Happy Monday

  2. Good Morning Bevy, I too am like this with my children, sometimes I think within myself its just me lacking patience in the teaching, so I find myself doing it all.. I find this extremely hard for me and my daughter..and to be honest, One of my hardest tasks of being a mom for myself was/is teaching them the homemaker stuff, like making beds, cleaning bathrooms, and cooking..but I realize why and that is because losing my mom at such a young age and learning all this on my own,(trial and error of course) I just jumped in and figured it out..and I realize I Expected them to do the same(and when they didnt I just jumped in an done it myself).. BUT I have seen in the last few months with my son, that he watched me more than I thought, because he does his laundry, and even called me Saturday to be sure he was using his new crock pot right.. :) and in the end of Saturday I called him to see how it went and he actually teased me that his BBQ Pulled Pork just may be better than mine... then he LAUGHED real big... so I guess even if I didnt teach them up close, I taught them to be observant.. Great Post and you did good, and So did Caleb... Way to go Caleb... Have a wonderful MOnday...

  3. You just did the BIGGEST favor for Caleb!!
    So hard to do as a parent but so wonderful for your child.

    Caleb will grow up with the sense that if he thinks, prays, and "ponders" about a situation, he will succeed. Next time he will recall and forge through.
    As moms we can be teachers and sometimes cheerleaders. You have to know which one.

    Way to go Caleb (and mom)



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