Example of Encouragement

Kristina and I sometimes talk about whether or not an occasion is 'blog-worthy.'  More often than not the event is funny, or cute, but doesn't fit with what I blog about.

Today's event was different; it fits perfectly.  Not only do I get to blog about my kids, but I also get to blog about encouragement.  Couldn't ask for more!

Every night Hannah has a bedtime routine.  In the middle of it is bath time.  Lately, bath time has become much more fun with the addition of Ethan.  


Hannah thinks that sharing a bath with her brother is the best thing in the world.  On top of that, Hannah has always loved the water.  Ethan, however, flip-flops like a bad politician on the whole bathing issue.  Some days he is ecstatic; kicking and laughing and giggling so hard that he floats around.  Other days he is enraged; screaming so loud that Hannah backs away from him in distress.  


Today was an 'enraged' day.  We put Ethan in the bath and he very slowly put out his lower lip, forming his pouty face.  Then the screams came.  Hannah quickly backed away and looked at me, asking me if he was 'Hungy?' or 'Poopy?' 

Once Ethan gets going you can't calm him down in the bath.  So, Kristina pulled him out and wrapped him in his towel and bounced him on her knee.  This is where things got interesting.  

Ethan didn't calm down quickly and Hannah saw her opportunity.  She stood up in front of Ethan and began to perform.  I mean that literally.  She talked to him, danced for him, splashed water for him, clapped for him, and sang for him.  All to make him smile. She fake laughed and giggled, and she did this until she was literally shivering from being out of the bath water.  All the while she was just waiting for a smile, even a small one.  When Ethan finally gave it to her she squealed with joy.  

Meanwhile, I am sitting there thinking, 'now that's encouragement.'  Hannah didn't know what was wrong with Ethan, but she knew he was upset.  So she did all that she knew how (she's only 19 months old after all) to cheer him up.  She did it to the point of creating discomfort for herself, and when she got even a small response from him she was genuinely happy about it. 

I know that the selfish years, the 'me', 'mine', and 'no' times, are just around the corner (or so I hear from more experienced parents than myself).  I also know that children are not perfect.  But for me this was a great example of thinking of others before yourself.  Would I have done the equivalent to what Hannah did for someone who was sad?  Hannah may not be very old, but she showed me a glimpse of what love looks like today, and I appreciate it.  Here I go learning from my kids again... I'm such a good parent! :) 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

- Philippians 2:3

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