So between 12 – 18 months a young child is trying to learn to walk. They get up fall down – get up fall down… over and over again.
This amazing drive to walk does not happen because a parent has said, “it’s time to learn to walk”. It is that pure. The child is not worried about the reward and more importantly they are not worried about failure, rather than it simply happens because the child sees his parents and siblings walking and has a desire to do it.
I believe that our children have that creativity and drive, have that unbelievable willingness to attempt, to try to do things… that is, until we the parents, tell them NO! Then things change forever.
Now I am not saying that we cannot tell our children NO. For safety sake alone, we must tell them, don’t touch, “hot” or “sharp” etc… I truly believe that their can be no level of learning without some level of discipline, however, what if we could find a way of embracing our children’s desire to attempt new things? How amazing could they be, could we be if we still had that unwavering desire with no fear of failure?
I would say that our children hear NO, a directive, or what I call a correction 7 more times a day than they hear YES, encouragement for their creativity or a positive reinforcement. Once again I must say that there are times that we need to correct our children, however I am suggesting that our kids need more positive feedback in their lives.
If we see our child attempting things or being creative, rather than worrying about their failure or what the result of their efforts is going to produce, sometimes due to our own experiences or failures, how about if we encourage them to just continue to try.
One of the worst things that we parents or teachers can do is to squash our kids creativity and drive. This is how children approach their world in order to learn about it and to learn about themselves. It is how they express their feelings and how they share themselves with the world around them. Creativity is how kids play and how kids work and how they learn.
Whether accidental or intentional, our failure to encourage our kid’s efforts ends up stifling them, sometimes only a little bit and sometimes in a way that can be crippling for life.
Often times when we, the parents, see our children attempting to do things, play a sport, an instrument or just playing, we make it about our version of their “thing”. We often times will take away their love for their “thing” that they want to do out of our desire for them to “do it the right way”, or be successful. We can teach them but remember kids learn more from their own failures than they do from their successes.
If a child got up and walked the first time they tried, how would they ever learn to deal with failure, to get back up and try again when things don’t go their way? We can help our children and guide them, however it is up to them to have the learn it through their own experience. The key is to find the balance between doing things the correct way and not taking away the child’s self confidence or love for the thing that they are doing.
What if we could be less concerned about the result and embrace their efforts. Do we want them to succeed, absolutely, however, to them success may be more about the enjoyment of trying rather than the result of their efforts. As parents, it is crucial to work on doing things that encourage our children to try. We need to embrace and reward their efforts rather than being overly concerned about the results. This allows them to feel safe and comfortable as they learn and grow.
the Kids in our camps learn these and other valuable life skills...
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