One of the aspects I’ve heard many parents reflect is good and so hopeful to witness during this time at home is the relationship that has developed between siblings. This is true for us too. The way that we are watching our four and half-year-old learn to be a big brother to a toddler is so sweet and encouraging. After our morning walks and bike rides, while I fold up the stroller, I see him reach out his hand and our eighteen-month-old and help her walk up the stairs.
He waits patiently and says, “You can do it. There you go. Just one more step.”
I never taught him this. I never taught him to slow down to her pace and to look down at her feet as she was walking up the stairs to make sure her foot was planted before he moved on to the next step. I never taught him to encourage her along the way.
Maybe helping each other comes naturally to us. Maybe when we see someone learning something new it is actually our natural instinct to reach out a hand and say, “You’re doing great. Keep going.”
Maybe it’s our consumerist, capitalist culture that subverts this natural helping and teaches us that in order to survive and thrive we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps not worrying who we are stepping on. Maybe this isn’t natural at all and when we are still and quiet we feel disconnected and unhappy not because we don’t have enough but because we are stepping on other people rather than giving them a helping hand.
There’s something about this time at home and this stillness that is teaching me to watch and learn from our children what is good and right and important rather than believe the messaging that supports greed and inequity.
Thanks be to God for little hands reaching out and waiting while step by step we return to who we are.