The parents exist to teach the child, but also they must learn what the child has to teach them; and the child has a very great deal to teach them.
After listening to my oldest tell our neighbor's son exactly which toys he could play with and how, I was not the least bit surprised when she came bursting in with a tale of how horrible this neighbor was for not playing with her.
When I explained that the poor boy just wanted to play with the toys and that she was being terribly bossy, she replied, "I'm not being bossy, I'm just trying to tell him how to play the game, and he's hurting my feelings by not doing it."
My first reaction, I'll admit, was a stifled giggle and a slight roll of the eyes. But as I continued to try to explain and as she continued to not get that she was at least partly at fault in this situation, I realized the painful truth: here was a reflection of myself. A reflection of both my strengths and my weaknesses--my oldest and I both have good ideas, and we are very comfortable when others follow those ideas. But, on the other hand, if you put us in a situation where we have no defined role and we are just supposed to be we are like fish out of water. This makes us good leaders and sometimes, very poor friends.
Baby I'm afraid you're a lot like me...
And for you and myself I will pray
let our weakness become our strength
Sara Groves gets it right. I so pray that my oldest will be able to use her strengths and learn early how to be with other people without always being the one in charge!
And on a lighter note, a few instances of how my children are still teaching me how to laugh:
The 2yo to her older sister: Where's Daddy?
The sister: He's at work.
The 2yo: At work!! Ho-ly Cow!
The 2yo singing in the back of our car as the other children are singing along with a favorite cd: "Holy cow, holy cow, holy cow, holy cow!" (Getting the tune but ad libbing the words!)
The silly older kids at dinner:
"Tooty" "Wooty" "Sooty" "Booty" (Lots of giggles) "Hey, we're listing all the "ooty" words!