During our vacation Titus learned to bike, use the scooter, and rollerblade. “Hey, mom! Look at me!” He would say as he whirred past on a bike, or scooter and eventually, rollerblades.
A few years ago, he tried all three but his body wasn’t ready. Plus, he needed someone to keep him steady. This time he took off very naturally.
He usually surprises me with his capacity to learn skills and pick up concepts without much instruction from Edric or me. A lot of it has to do with his willingness to try and experiment. Fear is not his first impulse. To attempt is, and persistence one of his shining characteristics. Eventually, he receives the reward of his laboriousness and relishes in the sweet victory of effort.
I have always been fascinated by Titus. Although my heart is inclined to all five of my children in the same way and I have no favorites, each of their peculiarities intrigues me in a different way. Titus’ penchant for exploration and discovery is more pronounced than his siblings’. He is rarely restrained by the kind of self-consciousness that often keeps people like myself from enjoying a moment without suffering the burden of a thousand thoughts.
His approach is “see then figure out by doing.” I have asked him many times, “how did you learn to do that?” in reference to a new ability or conquest he has acquired or undertaken and he will nonchalantly reply, “I just saw it and then I did it, or I just thought about it and then I did it.”
This type of response often elicits laughter from me as he responds to the world around him with a delectable spontaneity that I sometimes wish belonged to me. He has little regard for the risks involved which means that he also learns through bruises and falls. On the other spectrum is someone like myself, who quietly calculates the effort, plausibility, appropriateness, and consequences of committing to any sort of task or adventure.
When we were living in a cabin in Tahoe for a few days, Titus was intrigued by the light switches. He could not resist pressing each one to see which lights they corresponded to. We were in the middle of dinner on one occasion, when he turned the lights on and off. For a second, 24 people sat in darkness as he got his fidget-fix. All was well as he ably switched them back on when family members exclaimed in unison, “Who is doing that? Stop it!” They were gentle enough, especially when they realized it was none other than our curious Titus pouncing upon a cause-and-effect opportunity.
Thankfully, he is learning to control his inclinations towards taking things apart or touching things he isn’t supposed to. It took several years of repetitive intervention on my part and Edric’s to encourage him to filter through his choices. As any parent ought to know, parenting requires adjusting to each child’s uniqueness with grace and patience. Only God can supply the grace to successfully teach and train our children the way he wants us to.
In our family, we share the same goal for each of our kids, but we have to customize the instruction and discipline aspects. No two children get the same plan, and all five require careful observation and study.
This extended vacation provided many opportunities to get to know our children better. Edric, in particular, probably benefitted the most from 24/7 contact. It was a rare 30+ days of investment in time with our children. Even though he was intentional about discipling them before, I am pretty sure he can profile them more accurately now.
It’s been a joy to be more informed about how Titus thinks and responds to situations, and to celebrate his successes. He teaches me to “chill” as a mom, to relax and avoid the type of over-concern that infects my children with fear and self-doubt. Yes, he may fall and injure himself as he boldly attempts to balance, climb, catapult, cross over, lean, crawl, bounce, jump, etc, but that’s the way a Titus-person learns best. For as along as he isn’t injuring others or taking fatal risks, I am now able to sit back and applaud his courage, curiosity, and relentlessness for what they are — unique gifts from the Lord that can be channeled positively for His greater purposes.