Take for instance, the nightly bedtime routine. The older boys can pretty much handle everything by themselves. They can take their own baths/showers, brush their own teeth, pick out and put on their own pajamas...you get the idea.
On the contrary, our younger two can become quite upset if they can't rinse all of the shampoo out of their hair, or squish the toothpaste from the tube. It's the little things that can frustrate them. This seems to baffle our older two sons when it happens.
They often ask questions like, "Why does Lauren Elizabeth get so upset when she can't get her buttons the right way?" or, "Why does Preston get so angry when you have to help him brush his teeth?"
I thought of an old story that I remembered from when I was young about a buffalo and a butterfly. I told the boys how if they were to find a tiny pebble and put it on the back of a big buffalo, he would possibly never know the difference. It wouldn't bother him, he wouldn't feel it...he would probably never care.
If, however, you took that same small pebble and placed it on the wing of a butterfly, it would perhaps render him useless. The weight of the pebble on his fragile wing would be too much for the butterfly to carry.
The very same pebble to one, was completely different to another. The story helped make the boys understand that even though things may be easy for them as "big kids," the very same things might be extremely difficult for their younger siblings.
I thought about this a little more and realized that I needed take a page from my own lesson book. It's so easy for us to get frustrated and flat out exhausted from the daily grind of our lives with the kids. Especially now with school starting, things that seem simple to us as adults, like a morning routine, homework assignments, keeping things organized...the little things...become a hastle when the kids don't do them the "right" way. Regardless of how hectic our day may be, we have to remember that they are young and still learning. How we act and react towards them will help shape who they will become in the future.
I need to try and remind myself, that even though the pebble might seem pretty insignificant to us, it can be a world of difference to them...and there's very little that's more important than giving them strong wings to fly.