He's been doing this a lot more frequently. He'll grab a kitchen chair, drag it to the counter, and start doing any number of things that "help" me.
Now as every parent knows, help from a 4 year old is rarely help. Usually it's a sure sign your two-minute prep is about to become a 15-minute circus show of you trying to keep him from burning himself on the stove, stop him from reaching for a knife, begging him not to dance on the chair, and assuring him that the pasta doesn't need Cinnamon Toast Crunch added to the sauce.
However, we grin and bear these annoyances because, quite frankly, it's really sweet that our kid wants to help. It's wonderful that our children love us and want to be near us, even braving the sweltering heat of the kitchen and the annoying sound of the exhaust fan. It's a beautiful thing that our kids want to feel like a needed and necessary part of the family, and it's even more beautiful that we've done something right to get them to express that (by dumping cereal into your pot roast; I gotta move that stuff to a higher shelf).
That being said, Vince was being particularly "helpful" that afternoon. I almost sent him into the living room to wait for lunch because I was getting frustrated. Terrible, right? But it's the truth. Sometimes having a 4 year old's "help" is frustrating.
Before I gave the order for him to plant his butt on the couch, a little voice whispered in my ear, "You are the same."
The thought came and went so fast I actually stopped smearing peanut butter on the bread and pondered it a second.
"You are the same."
I'm an annoying kid pulling butter knives from the dishwasher?
As I thought on it more, I realized that in many ways, I am like Vince at the dishwasher. I love God and want to help Him out, but does God really need my help? No. My version of help is only going to result in Him cleaning up after me. However, God doesn't get frustrated that my pathetic offerings of help muck up His groove. Instead, He patiently allows me to try - over and over again - giving me pointers on how to better do the job of helping Him. In this way, I grow and mature until I am eventually able to offer help that is worthwhile.
The reflection was humbling.
I did not send Vincent to the couch. Instead, I taught him how to properly put the silverware away (which you can see him doing above). I snapped this picture because it was an eye-opening moment for me.
How incredible the lessons of parenthood. We are called, as parents, to exemplify the love of the Father. And in this, God is leading the way, briliantly choosing to use our own children as examples of His Love.