Monday, March 24, 2014

Children… We just might be the problem

A few weeks ago I went to a learning day in the park with my son's school.  All parents were invited and encouraged to participate - we would be leading the activities, not the teachers.

It is tricky to entertain children that are not yours and keep them engaged in an activity - especially since none of us are teachers.  The kids rotated through five stations.  Most involved a book and some activity related to the story.

The group I was in required us to read a book followed by an art activity of coloring leaf impressions onto a paper.  None of the parents in my group wanted lead it, so I went first as the first group of kids were approaching quickly.  We read the book, went on our leaf hunt, then I walked them through the activity.

After seeing I survived the first round, the other parents became more interested. I was happy to hand over the teaching duties and watch the learning in action.  I already have immense respect for teachers, but after that day even more so.

I realized that as parents, we are not always easy for our kids, and probably not for the teachers either. Without even realizing it, with the best intentions, we send our kids mixed messages and we probably confuse them.

One parent really enjoyed the art piece of it, so wanted to lead that part.  She enjoyed it so much, she told all the children, "Look, mine is much better than yours".

Some children did not immediately figure out the correct amount of pressure needed for the activity and tore their paper.  Another parent with the best intentions was very direct with those children in her explanation of how to do it "correctly".

When my son came through our station, one parent who had no idea that he was my son, very loudly pointed out "Wow, his is so much better than everyone else's!" in front of the whole class!

Horrified, I wonder what faux pas I was guilty of in my attempt to be engaged in my child's education.

Lessons learned: Teaching for non-teachers is intimidating.

Sometimes, as parents we probably need to be more teacher-like and let our children find their own way.  Through this I saw that many of us are very quick to tell a child what is "right or wrong" rather than let them do the learning and find their own way when appropriate.  Sharing our opinions in our non-creative, black and white worlds may send the wrong message sometimes… or maybe not. Maybe the children didn't even notice and I am a parent that walks on egg shells.

Now, on to the concerned parent whose child's drawing proclaimed she wants to marry my son…..

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