Just Doing What Kids Do By Lisa McCrohan

You’ll love this story about what kids do by Lisa. I love Lisa’s blog Gems Of Delights, where she inspires us with words of love and wisdom. She is the author of Gems of Delight and she is a delight! I am so grateful to know her! <3 Jodi

Just Doing What Kids Do

By Lisa A. McCrohan

She handed me my change. She looked at my two little ones beside me with big smiles ready to eat their special Sunday treat – chocolate donuts. “Your children are really cute,” she said, “Real cuties.”

“Thank you,” I said, looking at my two kiddos, feeling guilty we were buying donuts at the gas station instead of being at church today. Putting my Catholic guilt aside, I smiled and said, “They are little gems.” and I handed my little eager ones their donuts.

lisa june 2013
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What Kids Do

The young cashier looked at me. A line was starting to form behind me. She said, “You know, no one has ever said that before. Most people say something like, ‘well, you should see them at home.’ The one that really gets me is ‘they really are brats.”

I paused with the change in my hands. I looked at my two – taking their first bites and totally in to it. My heart ached. She probably sees a hundred people a day at this busy gas station – many with kiddos. I thought of children holding a treat like mine, delighting in the chocolate they are about to devour. Or the children who are getting a break from a long car ride. Or the children who get to be a “big kid” and go with mom and dad. This is what kids do.

I thought of how I’d feel to hear someone I love say they think I’m a brat. I thought of how I’d feel to hear someone I think the world of use those words to describe me. My heart sank. I wanted to take each child who has ever heard such things in my arms and hold them. I felt the ache of hopelessness – here I am as a psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher working so very hard to make this world a better place. And here someone tells me how often she hears such horrible things.

But then I felt a deep sense of gratitude to this young woman.

Who would think – a cashier at our local gas station mirroring children’s goodness. An angel. In the right place. Getting to see hundreds of parents a week and remind them of their child’s goodness.

“They are only doing what kids do,” she went on.

“Yes,” I nodded. My children now had chocolate all over their precious faces. Her words lingered in my heart.

“They are just doing what kids do.”

Begging to hurry. Full of anticipation of chocolate. Totally in the moment. Wanting my attention. Having a hard time getting along. Getting restless after being strapped in a five-point harness.

Just doing what kids do.

As we walked to our car, I thought of how we often expect our children act like adults. I thought of the unreasonable expectations we often have of our children – on the playground, at the dinner table, after a long summer day of swimming.

I thought of how children are doing what we adults want to really be doing!

Delighting in the moment. Speaking the raw truth. Wanting to know we matter. Wanting attention from our dear ones. Or, wanting to eat the whole chocolate donut without guilt.

That day, I found myself allowing my two little ones to just “do what kids do” without getting worked up over the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

I found myself giving myself permission to “do as kids do” and delight in a summer Sunday morning at our neighborhood pool. We walked on our hands in the baby pool, dove for rings in the big pool, and whined about “adult swim break.” I went to bed knowing I matter – to these two little ones. And I gently kissed my two little ones, hoping they knew in their bones how much they matter to me.

Lisa is a mom, mindfulness coach, psychotherapist, and yoga teacher. Her passion is inspiring folks to live with a deeper sense of delight, compassion, and connection in their everyday lives. She blogs here: http://www.barefootbarn.wordpress.com. Her website is: http://www.barefootbarn.com .

Beautiful souls, how do you let your kids and loved ones what they do and who they are matters?

34 thoughts on “Just Doing What Kids Do By Lisa McCrohan”

  1. Hi Lisa, and good to meet you at Jodi’s blog 🙂

    Your little story sent me down memory lane to the time when my kids were that young. And yes, being parents we often tend to stop them with an intention to discipline them. But that does take away their freedom of just doing what they want, which is also required once in a while.

    I wouldn’t say we give them the liberty each time, or else how’d you train them, but sometimes it IS required.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead, both of you 🙂

    1. Lisa A. McCrohan

      Harleena! (what a beautiful name!). Thank you for your kind words. Yes, this is about balance, right? Allowing kiddos to have freedom within limits. I find that sometimes I am in the habit of correcting them when I don’t really need to. I jump in too quickly. This isn’t about giving kiddos free rein. It’s more about a mindful practice that I cultivate within my own self to connect with my own heart in order to respond instead of react. It’s about remembering my little ones want the same things all of us want — to belong, to be regarded, and to love and be loved. Thank you, dear Harleena! Many blessings, Lisa

  2. Thank you Lisa for sharing. Thank you Jodi fort introducing us to this wonderful & insightful mother.
    I miss the days when my two little ones where, well my two little ones. It is so important to do what Lisa has written in her blog, especially now, in the summer. Do it while they are still your little ones. My body literally aches for those times. My kids are right here, but they are teenagers and I miss them. I feel blessed that my oldest angel, Jess, has allowed me to shop for college. Granted she probably wants my wallet more then me, but I’ll take it. Today is out last college shopping day. In a few days she will be having oral surgery to remove all her wisdom teeth. So I get to shop & talk with her one last time. I get to be “mommy” one last time, as I care for her during & after the surgery. Then I will get to take a 6-10 hour drive (depending on traffic) with her to help her move into her dorm at George Washington U. I know that once we unload, she will want me to leave. She has promised though, to show me around. I’ve been caught up in my sadness of letting her go. Then something wonderful happened. It’s such a small thing that you will probably think I’m crazy.
    For us it wasn’t chocolate donuts, but a big pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. We have an outlet center in our town. Every time we went there, we would visit the food court and head straight for those pretzels. Sometimes we would go to the outlet center, just to have a pretzel for lunch & talk. I was devastated to here that Auntie Anne’s had closed earlier this year. This was our special place & they closed it. For me it was symbolic of the changes taking place in our household. Then Jess told me could apply for a job before she even got to D.C. I encouraged her to apply now, as the good jobs will be taken up quickly. She told me she had many choices. She only applied for one job. I didn’t even know that store was part of their food court. Yesterday Jess came running down the stairs from her room that she only leaves when she needs the car, money, etc. and she was practically screaming that the job was hers, pending an interview when she gets to school. I then realized that all those special times we had were not over, it was just changing. Also I now know that those times where not special just for me, but they were special to my girls as well. This is my daughter’s way of bringing a little bit of home with her.

    1. The 1 place she applied to was Auntie Anne’s. Her excitement was over getting a job at Auntie Anne’s. Sorry for leaving that out.

    2. Lisa A. McCrohan

      Mary, what a beautiful story you shared here! I am so grateful to read stories and wisdom from moms of kiddos who are older than my own. It somehow links us together as a community of moms, of wise women. I soooo hear you about the “ache” you mentioned here — how your body physically aches with nostalgia. Mary — see if this post resonates with you….http://barefootbarn.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/a-repost-mindful-moment-my-skin-remembers/. Though it’s in paragraph form, the original was/is a poem I wrote about one evening when my husband brought our little baby girl to nurse in the middle of the night.

      I am sooo thrilled for you and your daughter connecting– and for her job. I also hear the “ache” for mom in these teen age years when we are mostly connecting around money and the car. I see how you treasure even these moments. It makes me think of the times when I was a teen and was like this. Now I “get it.”

      Thank you, Mary, for your story and your presence here today!


    3. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Mary, I am heartened to hear this story of Jess. So sweet! You’ll have to have at least one pretzel when she shows you aroun. My lily loves those pretzels, too! xoxox

  3. While we want to teach our kids how to act properly, we do have to remember they are kids. When my daughter doesn’t do something quite right, I always say, “She’s only six.” She’s a great kid and she’s doing the best she can. I love her for that.
    Kelly Hashway recently posted..Monday Mishmash 8/5/13My Profile

    1. Lisa A. McCrohan


      I sooooo have to say this same thing to my little six year old. He can be so much older and wiser than his little six year old self. I have to remember and remind myself that he is only six. It’s good to know that I am not the only one! Blessings, Lisa

    1. Lisa A. McCrohan


      I sooooo have to say this same thing to my little six year old. He can be so much older and wiser than his little six year old self. I have to remember and remind myself that he is only six. It’s good to know that I am not the only one! Blessings, Lisa

    2. Lisa A. McCrohan

      Angel, oops! Sorry – the response to Kelly fell under yours!

      I am noticing that often I get too worked up over the small stuff (not the dangerous stuff). If I just allow them to be kiddos and actually to JOIN them, *I* lighten up too! This is something I’m practicing right now!


    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      There are angels all around, aren’t there? I think I am going to look for them more closely and instead of quicly running by them!

  4. I don’t remember i was ever a kid. My kids were not allowed at home to be kids, act like kids. Everything had to be perfect. It is hard for me to know exactly what kids do? I’m not sure I know. That is why I often like to be reminded that all kids do certain things, react in certain ways, and that it’s OK when they do.
    Things have changed now. They are allowed now to be responsible, to say how they feel, to react, to give their opinion. They are allowed to develop their own personality and make their own choices. They are allowed to be kids and do what kids do. I have a lot of fun when i try to do with them kid’s stuff, but they don’t. I’m afraid they too have grown up before it was time.

    1. Lisa A. McCrohan

      Nikky, I love what you notice that kiddos now are able to feel, to name their feelings, give their opinions, and to react how kids react. I feel like it’s never too late to allow someone the freedom to be who they are. So keep at it, Nikky. I’m glad you shared here. Blessings, Lisa

  5. I enjoyed my son every step of the way, and sincerely hope I never referred to him in public as a brat, “affectionately” or otherwise. *guiltily searches memory banks* We had our struggles from time to time; all parents do. But childhood is/was so short, why squander the good times on anything other than ENJOYING them together?
    Beverly Diehl recently posted..Slut of the Month: Dr. M. Joycelyn EldersMy Profile

    1. Lisa A. McCrohan

      Beverly, that sounds really lovely. It’s refreshing to read your reply — one that reminds us moms of younger kiddos to enjoy these moments. And yes, all parents have their moments — me too! I am FAR from perfect. But I do hope that when I look back on these times, I can say that I did it with as much integrity and love as was possible in the moment. Thank you for sharing your reflection today! Lisa

    1. Lisa A. McCrohan

      Thank you, Laura! I love it when a post of mine resonates with folks who are single or grandparents or in different stages of parenting than I am. Many blessings to you, Laura. Lisa

  6. Hi Lisa, Welcome to be on Jodi’s blog, It’s really a great opportunity to be part of great Blogger Jodi. Well Many Many thanks for sharing a great post on great Blog! I happy to find a valuable post & I hope to keep finding valuable post on Jodi’s blog.

  7. Lisa, a wonderful post. Too often our culture seems to want our kids to grow up quickly, but this is a good reminder that they’re still children and children must do what children do. They deserve to be treated respectfully, and not belittled like some of the parents the cashier met. But I think those parents said that because we have a tendency to be uncomfortable accepting praise, even for our children. Perhaps we don’t want to appear that it’s gone to our heads, and so we end up saying things like, “they’re brats,” etc.
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    1. Monica, you bring up an interesting point. Yes, many times things we say (and others say) are out of not knowing WHAT to say, and of feeling uncomfortable. So we make up stuff, we go back to what’s culturally the norm, and what is our “default.” I hear you, too, and agree that our kiddos do deserve to be treated respectfully. I find that often the teens I work with in counseling feel like they are RESPECTED by their teachers (and other adults). Regard and respect. We all desire to be regarded and respected — the little ones all the way up to adults! Thanks, Monica, for your reply! Blessings to you, Lisa

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I’m touched that you thought this was a beautiful post. Yes, allowing and enjoying. I know that I could use a bit more of that in my everyday life. Thank you, Lisa! Blessings, Lisa

  8. I don’t think I have ‘one way’. I tell them as often as I can, for a reason and for no reason at all. My parents were not big on using the ‘L’ word, so I made myself a promise when they were born to use the word freely. As easy as it is for me to use the word, it’s not the only way to express love. Sometimes it’s as easy as giving up a couple hours of my precious writing time to watch a horrid talking animal movie with them. It’s in the way I smile or hold their hand, even in a restrained voice. There are so many ways to show what we feel on the inside. Lovely post.
    brenda recently posted..The Lost Art of Letter WritingMy Profile

    1. Brenda, what you write here is right on. Yes, these everyday little ways of being present to our kiddos, of showing them they matter. This makes such a huge impact on a child’s sense of self. I love, too, how you wrote about watching something that you really didn’t like (“horrid talking animal movie!”). I thought about this the other day when my son was talking to me all about spy stuff. I put away my “precious”….(whatever I was doing in that moment!), and was present to my son. I could see how he felt deeply loved.

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