I love the "Write Upon My Heart" series by Keepers of the Faith. The series is made up of 18 books. Each title is a month-long character study that trains a child in how to develop that trait. They contain Bible stories or other inspirational examples that demonstrate that book's character trait. One part of the book that we enjoy is the daily journal section.
Each afternoon, while Little Man is resting, I make a pot of tea for Little Miss and I. We have our Afternoon Tea while we read or talk about the character trait we are focusing upon. This month, we started the study on Charity. We are enjoying these times. As we have our tea, we talk about the day. With Charity being the focus this month, we talk about events during the day that demonstrate where Little Miss had shown Charity towards others. I have been careful to express to her that true charity is not to be done and boasted about. For now, we talk about how I observed her showing charity only to help her to understand what charity is. One of the questions that her daily journal asks her to consider is times in the day when she chose not to show charity towards another. I have been so pleased to see her really take time to not only recognize it, but to also be able to consider why she didn't show charity. One example that she gave was particularly insightful for a child her age. She was able to relate the situation to me and felt disappointed that she hadn't handled the situation differently. I didn't have to guide her in it at all.
I am already seeing with this first booklet that this series will be a great program for both Little Miss and I. We are studying it together. As I read the inspirational readings to her and we discuss how they apply to us today, I am learning as much as she is. Afternoon Tea is becoming a favorite time of day. We are able to relax and really talk with each other without distraction. It is amazing to listen to her and realize that she is only going to be 6 in a few weeks. The depth of thought that she puts in to our conversations is more like talking to an older child. She is very much a kid and enjoys playing just like any other kid her age. She has another depth to her personality however. Blame it on having an older Momma (I had her when I was 43 yrs old) or on being the big sister to a brother with special needs. It is still a joy to witness the many facets to our Little Miss.
I still remember last year when she and I talked over a cup of tea. She asked if Pastor Mike and Miss Juli had any little kids at home. I explained that their 2 sons were all grown now and in college. She thought about that for a moment and became concerned that Miss Juli didn't have any little ones to take care of. I told her about Miss Juli's job at a day care center looking after little babies while their parents were at their own jobs. Little Miss thought for a bit and replied that she believed that God blessed Miss Juli to be able to look after those other babies so she won't be lonely while her boys are at college. In that one conversation, Little Miss recognized that Miss Juli might be lonely with her sons away at college and had been concerned for her. She recognized that Miss Juli does have a special blessing/gift when it comes to little ones and that the blessing is a gift from God. For a then 5 yr old, to recognize so much and be so aware of others is amazing to me. Such is our Little Miss. She is very much a little girl who enjoys having fun and being a kid. Yet, she shows us glimpses of the little girl who is beginning to develop an awareness and compassion towards others.
Our Afternoon Tea is a time we both treasure. Tomorrow, I think I will have her help me to make the buttermilk scones for our tea. It has been a little while since we made them together. I know from having older children who are now grown that this time will pass by quickly. With all of the changes that happen through the years, I am hoping that our Afternoon Tea will be a tradition that we can keep. It is a time to take a break from the day and just enjoy being together. It is a quiet time to talk of things that are important to us. It can be a time of gentle teaching. Mostly, it is a time for our "Momma-Daughter time" as Little Miss calls it. All I know for sure is that it is building a bond between us that I treasure.