Picnik collage 

My first born Colton. 

A very…

…smart child. 

He, as some four year olds do, is certain that everything in the world is his and we are all just trying to take his stuff away.

A philosophy that is still in practice by certain senators and members of congress.

Well then.

Sometimes, I look into those curious eyes of his, I see a much older boy then actually is standing before me.  And my expectations of him grow and I have such a strong desire to see him make good choices and do the right thing.

The other day, as I was lecturing him on right and wrong, he threw his hands up in frustration, covered his eyes and hung his head.

And as I kept on with my righteous tirade, something caught my attention.


His little hands. 

Tiny little fingers covered in marker and glue, clenched in frustration.


I think I stopped mid-sentence.  As I stared at his hands, it occurred to me. 

He's just s little boy.

Just relax Amanda.  He'll understand soon enough.  But right now, in this moment, show him compassion and concern.  Show him what love feels like.  What it feels like to be loved even when we don't think we deserve it.


While it is important to me to instill right and wrong, its equally as important for me to show him compassion, grace, and mercy.

Just like it has been shown to me.

And tomorrow, when I have to break up another fight over another toy, I just might take that tiny hand into mine and try a different way of teaching.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Oh how I hear you here sister! Their hands, their feet, their innocent eyes. Brings tears to me eyes! Compassion, grace, and mercy…three words I should put on my fridge so I remember daily.
    You’re the best Amanda!

  2. This so blessed me. Rough days in our house have sent me to my knees more times than I care to count. It was refreshing to read this perspective. Thanks for sharing a very real moment of your life.

  3. So true. My oldest is also a 4-year old very wild little boy. He looks so big compared to his little sisters but I too have to remind myself that he’s still my baby, still a little boy. Such a sweet post!

  4. Glad you found me…and I found you! I needed your post after the one on my daughter 🙂 And after reading thru several entries, please know that we have healthy stuff at our market in Park Rapids (www.redwagonfarm.net) and we’d NEVER be rude or look down on you.
    Thanks…honestly…I needed the reminder about 4 y.o.s! Blessings to you, too!

  5. Bravo, Amanda! Bravo!!!
    Because I am sure the lesson on mercy and grace will speak louder and last longer than the lecture on right and wrong.
    TOTALLY agree with you – we need to instill right and wrong. But they’ll hear it much more clearly when they understand the compassion first.
    Keep it up, momma!
    BTW, you live in MN, right? How far from the Twin Cities?

  6. Amanda, this is something I struggle with every day. It was refreshing to read your honesty, your compassion, and the remembrance to take a step back and realize they are still learning; and will continue to do so for the rest of their precious lives. Thanks for this post; it brought tears to my eyes as I looked at his hands. And thank you for reminding all of us to show compassion and love. THAT will lead them on the right path!
    Gosh I miss you!!!

  7. Amen, my friend. From your lips to God’s ears. May I show a little grace and compassion in my battles today.

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