Parker has these small plastic bears that are either green, red, yellow, or blue. They are a manipulative tool used to teach children how to sort, follow a pattern, count, and distinguish color differences. These bears are about the size of a nickel. I have no idea what is so intriguing about these bears, but they are one of Parker's favorite toys. There is a hitch though. These bears are too small for Kent to play with. Kent is too young to understand that Parker is playing with a toy by himself. Whatever Parker has, Kent gravitates towards it.
We've had a talk with Parker recently about which toys he can play with while Kent is awake, and which toys are reserved for when Kent is sleeping. The bears fall into the "sleeping" category. The other day, I noticed that Parker had gotten the bears off his shelf and was playing with them while Kent was awake and in the room. Within seconds, Kent had a bear in his mouth which I consequently had to dig out. I reiterated to Parker our rule, but he still was frustrated. I explained that Kent is too small to know how to use these properly, so to help him, we'll just eliminate the temptation altogether (I used more toddler friendly words,of course).
I wish I could get our student leaders to grasp this "bear" concept. In leadership, there are just some things that you do not do for the sake of those following you. The sheep may not have the faculties, maturity, or comprehension to use the "bears" accordingly. It is our responsibility to know when we can play with the "bears", and when we have to exercise restraint for the sake of the "Kents" in the room.