Salt dough relief maps

Salt dough map

(Eliza’s salt dough map a few years ago)

Each time I have a child in fourth grade, I make salt dough. And each time I make it, I think I should write the recipe down somewhere. So after my sixth time making it, I’m writing it down.

Mrs. J’s Salt Dough

This morning I was reminded of how the family is the smallest unit of society where we learn the most important lessons. These lessons include how to take care of ourselves and others in a kind, cooperative way.

I had been up a few hours in the night coughing, and Lane told the youngest children, who were still home after he and they older children left, to be really quiet so I could sleep. When I woke up around 8:30 am, Peter was working on gathering the ingredients to get his dough made. He had everything measured out and ready to make the dough when I shooed him off to school so he wouldn’t be late. I told him I would finish it for him and ride it over.

Where did Pete learn to be thoughtful by being quiet and also to take care of his own responsibilities, even at a young age? Part of it is his nature. He’s a nice boy! But he has also seen it modeled many times by Lane, and his siblings are also practicing those character traits, so he’s watched lots of thoughtfulness and self-reliance. He also has LOTS of opportunities to do things for himself in our big family. When you have brothers and sisters who all want Mom or Dad to help them, you end up either waiting a long time for some kinds of help or you figure out how to do it yourself. Families–especially families where parents only do for their children what the children cannot do for themselves–are great places to learn self-reliance.

These lessons–thoughtfulness, teamwork, and self-reliance–are so critical in society. How many people in our society today expect others to do for them, and think only of themselves? I feel sorry for them, because they must have missed those lessons in their own home. Can you imagine what would happen if children everywhere could learn those lessons from their father and mother, in a nurturing home environment?

That’s what I was thinking about this morning as I stirred that cornstarch, water, and salt into a hot ball of dough.

Happy Lesson Teaching and Learning,

Liz 🙂



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