Good vs. Eebol

The littlest Clements is my three year old son Levi.  Wee-bye Jon Cwements if you ask him.  For several weeks I have noticed that if there is anything in the house that has an exact duplicate (2 gallons of milk, a pair of boots, two plates of food) Levi will declare one good and one evil.

He asked for milk one morning and pointed to the gallon jug he wanted.  I told him he had to have milk out of the jug that was already open.  He shook his head and said, “No, that milk is eebol.  THAT milk is good.”


Another time he brought me his boots.  We had been working with him.  Putting shoes on the wrong way or the right way.  Recognizing right foot and left foot.  So he said, “Mommy, this is the right boot?”  I looked.  “Yes!  That is the right boot.  Good job!”  He held up the other boot.  “This is the eebol boot.”

After pouring two glasses of apple juice for Gideon and Levi, a scuffle broke out.  Levi called Gideon’s juice eebol.  This made Gideon squeal and cry.  “Mom, Levi said my juice is evil!!!!  Tell him it’s not evil!”   “Levi, Gideon’s juice is not evil.”  “EEBOL!!!”  “Mom, tell him LOUDER!”  “Levi, knock it off.”   Whispers “eebol”.

Today, I baked chocolate chip cookies.  Levi wandered into the kitchen,  “What you are making, Mommy?”  “Cookies.”  “You are making eebol cookies.”


I mentioned this to Jon a while back.  He became very concerned.  “Where would he learn that????”  Oh I don’t know….the television???  I think it’s pretty darn cute.





Humans First.

When I was  a little girl, I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house. My grandpa let me follow him outside quite a bit.  Now that I have my own children, I think I know why.  I was probably full of energy, got into everything, asked a lot of questions and drove my grandma nuts.  So outside we would go.  As I look back, those times with him are where I learned the most about the world.  Not that he and my grandma had a grand estate with twelve ecosystems, far from it.  They had a ten acre farm that was mostly a walnut orchard.  Nevertheless, the lessons were big and I carry them with me today.

He would tell me about animals, show me where they lived.  He pointed out danger.  He whistled.  He made up stories.  He answered all of my many, many questions.  If he planted a tree he would tell me all about it as he walked me to it.  He made me care about my surroundings.  He instilled an excitement about nature and new life. He was also willing to share with me the hard facts about loving animals as well.  Dear furry friends did in fact die, and it could be really tough on the heart.  My big tall grandpa hated to lose a pet.  He also made no bones about the difference between pets and livestock.  There were no tears shed over the little lambs who grew up to be sheep, then soon appeared on the dinner table.

I think about how lucky I am to have a grandpa like him.  He is still alive and well, but so very far away.  I wish my kids could walk with him, but they can’t, so I do my best to fill the void.  I find myself whistling and telling them tales, or getting excited about birds, trees, and bugs.  I have them help me dig in the dirt, or plant seeds for the garden.  Those are moments that I treasure.

I guess what I am getting at is this:  we need more effortless times of wonder with our kids.  We need to get excited about rainbows, and rain, finding a bird’s nest, steering clear of snakes.  There is a connection that is made with their surroundings.  THEIR world.  If you teach a child the proper order of things, they get it.  In turn, they won’t grow up and destroy what is precious to them.  I’m not talking about going crazy with worshiping the earth or joining a radical environmentalist group.  I’m talking about a natural love and tenderness that grows for people, plants and animals, from the heart of the child.  That is how you change the world.  Put humans first. Take time to teach a small human.  Then this beautiful garden we have been blessed with will only benefit.

You may say, “My neighbors are idiots and their children blow up their toys all day.”  Well, if you can, be a positive influence on those wild kids.  If you can’t, society will probably weed them out quickly and they will be housed in some sort of long-term facility.  At least then maybe they can recycle something.  Just skip the rhetoric, hate, and misguided legislation.  Raise up a generation of passionate people.  Better than any weapon, stronger than any army.  Human hearts are an untapped, renewable resource!  (But not suitable for fuel or food, let’s not go Soylent Green here people!)

Humans First.


Foolish Things We Tell Our Kids: Part III

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

I am amazed at how much my kids pick up.  My four year old has a savant-like memory.  He can grasp concepts that are tough for me to wrap my mind around.  Yes, like every mother out there, I have a little genius.  Okay, I said it.  Even at that level of super power genius, I don’t think he would appreciate a DAISNAID approach to parenting.

Why do we tell our kids this?  I don’t believe that it comes from a place of malice.  I think it comes from a place of broken-ness.  We are human, we hurt ourselves, we act out, but we want to somehow contain that hurt.  We don’ t really WANT to pass it on to our children.  In a misguided effort we beg them to take heed to our advice and not fall into our destructive patterns.  As I have said before; that’s not how it works.  Kids will file those expectations into the I’m Required To Be Super Awesome cabinet.  It sends a message that the grown ups in their life don’t have to control themselves, but kids do.  When they can’t measure up?  Oh, oh! They get punished AND feel like a failure.

I hate to keep beating the same drum, but it goes back to modeling the behaviors we want from our children.  Little Johnny may not let the curse words fly when he stubs a toe, but he will probably react in furious anger if that is what he has seen.  Don’t tell little Susie she should not smoke while you have a cigarette dangling out of your mouth.  Don’t tell teenage Tommy that he shouldn’t drink and drive, as you and hubby drive home after a few drinks with dinner.  Don’t tell your teenage drivers that they better-the-heck-not get a speeding ticket when you drive like a road demon.  Just remember, our children are watching and listening.  Always.  The small things we do are the big lessons for them.

Taking the time to think about what we say and what we do will shape future generations.  I  want strong, compassionate children.  I am so tired of reading the headlines and seeing stories of kids completely devoid of empathy.   Stories like that make me sad because they stink of bad or absentee parenting.  By the time a kid throws a shopping cart on someone’s head, the damage is done.  I don’t believe the future is hopeless.  I believe we can turn the Titanic around.  But does everyone want to do the work?  Sorry to say, no.  Too many parents are hung up on themselves  to focus on their kids.   I have heard so many moms (WHERE ARE THE DADS???????) say they would die for their kids.  Yet, they don’t know who their kids are with, what their kids are learning in school, what their kids are watching, what their kids are listening to, or what their kids are eating.

Yeah, you would die for your kids but maybe you should spend some of your LIFE investing in them.