Some weeks ago (or maybe months, time goes so fast) my now 8-year-old daughter came home excitedly. They had written letters in school. The teacher had brought a mailbox there and they spent some time writing. She said she had written a letter to everyone in her classroom. I thought it was very nice of her and complimented her for doing it. But at the same time I thought it was very natural and normal even though I would not expect anyone to do such a thing. I know it's not something all my kids would do, but it's something I have done.
Recently I happened to talk with her teacher. She started talking about this case. She was in tears. As most teachers would, she had looked through the letters to make sure everyone got some and that there would not be any mean letters. To her surprise not only she found out that our daughter had written to everyone, the things she had written were well thought and extremely nice. The teacher was in tears and said she had never experienced such an extraordinary thing.
It made me wonder. I had taken for granted that my child had done such a deed. Had I known they're writing letters I would not had expected such a thing of her. But when it happened, I didn't think of it as extraordinary. After all it is according to the principles we try to teach, thinking of others and being nice to others, especially in a school setting trying to think of those who may not have that many friends.
All parents try to teach good principles to children. We have heartache or sorrow or plain irritation when they don't follow our teachings. But when they do as we teach, how many times we take it for granted? I know I take it for granted that my kids take care of their school work. I take it for granted that they no longer have tantrums publicly (most of the time). I take it for granted that they most of the time (probably) remember to say thank you or could I, may I?
Surely we have worked for them to learn those things. But once they have learnt, I tend to think "of course they do that".
How much am I missing in this line of thinking? How much more I would gain if I really saw them as the amazingly great little people they are? If I could see those things I think of as "of course" as achievements they have achieved because they have worked hard and are very capable?
I am actually grateful that not everything is smooth sailing in this family. I know when to celebrate achievements on things that have been hard. I just should celebrate more the achievements that have not required quite so much work to achieve. Even those that may come naturally, because the child just simply is so amazing, regardless of his or her parents.