Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thanks a lot

On Friday night, my sister took Grant out to play at an indoor bounce house gym. Grant said, "Thank you for taking me to Jump N Jammin."

He did it unprompted. He did it when they were lying on his bed for story time an hour later and he interrupted  the book to say, "Thank you."

I didn't tell him to say it. She didn't tell him to say it. He said it because he meant it.

Here's the thing. Grant sometimes throw epic tantrums. Screaming, hysterical, can't-even-get-him-to-listen-to-you-fits. Or if you tell him no for something, he might immediately launch into this annoying fake cry that's not a great look or sound on a nearly four-year-old. He will knock his toddling sister over so that he can pick her up and hug her, and then turn around and do it again. He will eat nothing but chicken nuggets. And he's still not consistent about coming when I call him. He hates to clean up. Reverence is a foreign concept.

There are days when he flat drives me nuts. I extrapolate his behavior into the future and I wonder what it means for him. What clues are buried in his meltdowns? What character flaws are real and permanent and what is just standard three-year-old psychoticness?

But then I don't worry. Because the thank you he told my sister is something he said because he meant it. And it's not the first time he's done it. He has the ability to be in a moment he's really enjoying, a little snapshot of happiness, like when my neighbor gave him cold water on a hot day, and he can stop and look at whoever made his happy moment possible and say, "Thank you," with genuine delight. Because he wants to.

A grateful heart . . .

I didn't teach him that. He came to me that way. It's one of the special little things that makes him Grant. And a grateful heart is a powerful gift. It will keep him humble. It will help him find joy in everyday life. It will draw people to him. It will multiply his blessings.

And the tantrums still make me nuts. But I worry less for his future. Because his core, his essence . . . his spirit, are good and true and with a little nurture, he will grow to be great.

I love him. Crazy stinker.

12 comments:

Kristina P. said...

He looks like Dennis the Menace! :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Aw. That's sweet. If it's any consolation, I was an out-of-control child, and my mother thought I'd end up in the gas chamber by the time I was sixteen. Bad stuff. Like having my first cigarette at 5, being caught shoplifting in 2nd grade, failed 2nd grade because I hated my teacher and refused to read for her--so she failed me saying I couldn't read. But something clicked inside me around the age of eight. Anything familiar about that age? By the time I was a teenager I was a straight arrow.

Not saying your little guy will do there, but there's hope. And that sweet heart says a lot.

Lara said...

I love how you can see into his soul, past the things he does. That's so important to do as a parent, and I don't think I do it enough.

I have one like that, that came with a grateful heart.

Brittany said...

He told me, "thank you for the piggy back ride." That was sweet. Also, my kids still don't come when I call them. So, you know, good luck with that one.

Vivian said...

Awww this is truly a sweet. And as I read it I identity myself so much with my own 4 year old. Those little boys have such amazing spirits. He's taught me not to let fixing a problem be more valuable than showing love to someone.

Susan said...

Grant will turn out fine. I was a tantrum thrower, and look at me. I drove my parents in-sane. They even took me to a shrink who told them I was perfectly fine.

And I am.

And he will be too.

Karen Peterson said...

I think you're lucky, but you also must be doing something right. My nephew is 6 now and I can't think of a time I've heard him say thank you without being prompted. I think you're right about Grant coming with a naturally grateful heart because my brother and sister-in-law certainly encourage gratitude but the lesson doesn't seem to be sticking.

Kazzy said...

He is so handsome that he can throw tantrums at 20 and nobody will care. :)

Av GRANTar

ERB said...

I hope you print this out and give it to him some day. When he's much older and has control of his temper. :-)
Erin

Becca said...

Love the grateful heart. And the small boys in general.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I have those kind of thoughts, the extrapolating kind, ALL THE TIME. And sometimes it makes me worry, and sometimes it makes me grin.

Amber Lynae said...

So sweet. Thank you are powerful words when they come unprompted.