Sometimes pausing to ask ‘why’ makes all the difference…
I’ve learned from my experience with children that there is often a reason why they do the things they do. I use to allow myself to get upset or to begin my long-winded lecture about appropriate choices, but now my approach is different.
After listening to a few inspirational TED Talks over the years, I’ve gathered a common theme: the more you listen to children, the more you truly begin to hear their voice. Just yesterday, I was reminded of the power of really listening to someone. Ernesto Sirolli shared the importance of helping people by literally ‘shutting up and listening
As I drove home from school this evening, my daughter told me that Jacob, my four year old son, was writing all over himself in the back seat. I took the pen from him, but I was unable to see the ‘damage’ until we got home. I couldn’t believe how much he had actually written!
My first reaction was to send him upstairs. After unloading the car and getting settled inside, I went upstairs to talk with Jacob about the writing on his body. When I sat next to him, I began to see how well his letters were formed. We’ve been working on his fine motor skills and handwriting. For a moment, I found myself no longer upset but rather proud of his letter formations. I could even see that he made his name on his stomach. I didn’t notice this at first glance because it was backwards, B, O, C, A, J. My mood began to soften.
It was at this moment that I asked him why he decided to write on himself. In my head, I wanted to scream, “What were you thinking?!?” and “You KNOW better!” I’m so glad I held back. This was Jacob’s response…
He was so proud of the work he had done. In his mind, he honestly didn’t see the wrong in his actions. After all, haven’t we all seen people at ball games with writing on their bodies? I thought it was so cute the way he separated “TI – G – ERS.”
I’m not sure what sparked his imagination to do this in December – clearly not baseball season. We also discussed the time and place to show off our team spirit.
As the holiday season is upon us, I know anxiety levels increase in the classroom. I try to always remember to ask ‘why’ before I start to redirect or have conversations. I find that the discussion often lends itself to a shared moment between the child and myself. Their minds are so innocent and creative (most of the time!). Kids truly do say and do the darndest things!
Children make each day worth it! They’re so inspiring and refreshing!