About a year ago, we taught our then 10 year old daughter how to make coffee. She loves coffee and we figured it was something she could easily learn to make and then, in turn, use to serve others (she also makes a mean pitcher of lemonade!)
Last week, our 6 year old decided he wanted to be “big” like his sister and make coffee too. Thankfully, I caught him before he just dove right in and I helped him get started (and finished).
He donned an apron (because that’s what all good cooks do) and got down to work. By the time the coffee was brewing, he had actually done very little of the work involved, but he felt like he had truly made the coffee.
Having eager youngsters can be a difficult thing for a mama. We hear how we are supposed to let them help in the kitchen and we really want to do that, but we have a distorted view of what that looks like. We envision waist-high kiddos measuring and stirring and grabbing ingredients for us in a way that is truly helpful. However, more often than not, it looks more like this:
Mom: Can you get me the sugar?
3 minutes later
Child: MOM! I can’t find the sugar!
Mom: It on top of the flour bin.
Child: I don’t see it.
Mom: I’ll come get it.
Mom finds sugar on top of flour bin.
And this goes on and on and on.
I once had a young woman tell me that her mother was very good about letting the children in her family help with things in the kitchen and whenever they would ask, she would say in her sweetest voice with a smile on her face,
“Oh good! It only takes me twice as long when you help!”
This woman had a correct view of children helping in the kitchen. She knew it was not going to be easy, but she also knew it was a step in the right direction and one that needed to be taken not to actually have a “helper” in the kitchen but to instill in each child a sense of worth and belonging and to spur them on to even greater things.
So, let them make coffee – or think they did.