As you might expect I spend a lot of time thinking about children. They are my most favorite people because they so willingly accept us for who we are.
My thoughts about children frequently center on how to stay out of their way while they are learning. What can I do to keep from interfering, from becoming a bore by telling them all I want them to know, from overly explaining when truly I’m confusing them? How can I instead facilitate their life lessons and at the same time send the message to them that they send to me: that I accept them just the way they are? Children, after all, are supposed to be allowed to be children, to not know, to make mistakes, to be given room to learn, and to learn many times from their own mistakes, not from my lecturing them about their errors or from my saving them from their mistakes.
As I think about children and the lessons before them I am reminded that they aren’t the only learners; we adults are learners, too. Some of us are inexperienced parents. For example, for some this is the first time we’ve been parents of a seven year old, and next year it’ll be the first time we’ll be parents of an eight year old. Just as our child is changing, so does our job change. It’s not the same experience to parent a three year old and a thirteen year old. So, even though we may have been parents for a while, we’re always inexperienced with the age that our children are now. We should remind ourselves of this fact so that we can be fair to ourselves and not be too harsh in judging ourselves or our capabilities.
It seems to me that our children’s lessons in life deal with learning how to take care of themselves, and our lessons as parents deal with learning how to let our children take care of themselves. We need to get clear about what we think our responsibility is to our children. We want to deliver them safely to adulthood with life skills that enable them to be able to live without needing our parenting. This means we will be working ourselves out of a job we’ve fallen in love with. Like all of life’s lessons, it takes a while to catch on!
Director/Elementary 1 Teacher