Leaders, for better or worse

You’d think in a household with five kids and no biologically related family members, we would see very few common traits. And yet, Dave and I have been marveling this weekend over how the kids communicate with each other and the similarities we see in their interests and how they interact. The same could be said at school, for better or for worse.

All of our kids have strong personalities.  sometimes that makes them a huge help to the teacher; sometimes it means smart Alec comments that need to be discussed after school; sometimes it means incredible leadership and empathy, and on the fly instinctual behavior that leaves us mouth agape in a good way. They’re kids! So take all of those extremes of behavior, stir them up into a wild concoction of unpredictable yet never boring choices. This weekend ran the gamut from a family pie competition at a friend’s house to the ubiquitous swimming lessons and (one of our favorites) the preschool lantern walk at the beginning of winter. Through it all, we saw it all: good, obnoxious, hysterical, kind.

We are gearing up for the arrival of our next Au Pair, who gets here Friday. The kids have helped us cook, come up with great ideas for how to welcome Catherine, talked their way into and out of numerous moments of excitement, watched each other’s back’s and encouraged each other’s silliness and kindness. While these shenanigans wear us down, I keep reminding myself that my parents tolerated me pushing boundaries because they knew it would make me a better adult. (I may, in fact, chant this to myself as a mantra on the worst days from the time I get up in the morning until the time I turn off the lights!) From the stories I’ve heard, Dave may have also behaved similarly for his parents, encouraging their creativity in how they approached shaping him as an individual. You won’t find me coaching a sports team, running a Cub Scout troop or effectively leading a nature walk, but I do have the skill set (and so does Dave!) to shape rebels without breaking their spirit. I think. I hope? We will all find out. Especially Catherine. Here we go!