She started the kindergarten parent-teacher conference with the obvious: “Mary Grace, well, she has a very strong personality.”  I smiled and nodded in agreement, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Her sweet teacher chuckled as she continued with her take on Mary Grace.


“All of the children follow your daughter around.  They all want to be where Mary Grace is because she’s always just so confident that she knows what she’s doing.”


She continued on to use words like “highly self-motivated” and “very social” and “a little talkative” (oh teachers can be so sweet in their wording).  Basically, she’s doing awesome.  I thought.

Until I chatted with the child of interest this morning and learned her latest ploy.  As she dressed, Mary Grace casually mentioned that she has now started recruiting classmates to tie her shoes for her.  Note: this is a skill she is VERY CAPABLE of doing herself.  And still, her friends, her sweet sweet friends who apparently trust her “very confident” leadership, comply.  At the sound of her request (demand? help us, Lord.), they stoop down and tangle their chubby little five year old fingers around my child’s shoelaces.   (“Because my friends just LIKE to do things for me, mooooom!”)

We try very, very hard to understand our children and to raise them in a way that acknowledges and respects their natural tendencies, affections, and bents, pointing them to Christ along the way.  And so, when I heard this latest kindergarten anecdote, I really wanted to characterize it as an excellent use of delegation.  Precocious leadership even.  I really and truly tried.

But then.  I then found myself googling “charismatic dictators” and couldn’t help but wonder.  Did Fidel Castro ever convince his peers to lace up his boots for him?

Parenting is hard, y’all.


(Sidewalk chalk artwork by Mary Grace.  OF COURSE.)