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My toddler adores this little IKEA lantern. She loves carrying it around when she’s playing in the yard. Even though it’s breakable and clearly not a toy, I let her use it and enjoy it.

My first instinct when I saw my little girl toting this lantern around was to take it from her. What if she throws it and it shatters? What if she pinches her fingers in the star cut-outs on the top? What if she fell and it broke and she cut herself? So many what ifs.

However, I watched how she carried it. How gently she used it. I realized at that moment that we often underestimate children and their abilities. Don’t get me wrong, I would never let her play with the lantern unsupervised, but if I’m there with her, watching, role-modeling, and guiding, there is so much potential for her to learn and grow.

The value of that lantern is so little to me, yet so great to her.



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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, and Deliberate Homeschooling. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.




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