This is Adele. She is the daughter of my friends Adam and Emily and she is also Graham’s little sister. Adele is a beautiful child. She has big brown eyes and a happy smile on her face most of the time. Her mom posted this picture on Facebook this morning, the post was titled “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk.” I laughed out loud and immediately asked Emily for permission to use it on the Pensees blog.
Look closely at the photo. I learned several lessons as I giggled at Adele’s predicament.
Lesson One: Let your child learn lessons on her own, even if you have to clean up their messes while they are young. Mess ups are more expensive when they are teenagers.
Lesson Two: Look over by the door, there is a neat mat with children’s shoes that are removed. Excellent habits are encouraged by parents but seldom is perfection achieved.
Lesson Three: See the puddle of milk behind her, it didn’t take her long to realize that she blew it. She went looking for help. When children mess up they know it, they are looking for understanding not ridicule.
Lesson Four: Notice she is still holding the cup. Don’t let your child hold on to evidence of the failure and don’t bring it up their entire life. Encourage them to let go of the mistake. Allow them to forget. Lavish them with your love and mercy. There is not a person in the world who makes only one mistake in their life. Everyone needs a do over from time to time.
Lesson Five: Don’t cry over spilled milk. Unless Adele gets on her knees and licks up the milk there is no way to change the circumstance. Emily can’t get the milk back in the cup, even if she wrings out the shirt. Why not simply say, “Oooopppsss, it’s okay.”
Lesson Six: Knowing my friends Adam and Emily, I am sure they quickly cleaned her up and gave her more milk. Restoring her quickly and gently will change her view of mistakes. Restoration rebuilds healthy self-esteem and frees the child from a fear of failure.
As adults we mess up, too. But we have a heavenly Father who meets us in the middle of the messy parts of life. This is January 1, 2014. Let’s learn from Adele and from God’s Word. Nehemiah 9:31, speaks of God’s character and care of His people, “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” Don’t cry over spilled milk this year. Move on and do like Adele pour yourself another cup and simply start over.