Saturday, November 12, 2016

Supporting Children

Sometimes we are motivated to create something or even pursue an intention. We visualize the process and develop an expectation.  As we encounter obstacles, we begin to loose confidence or even  motivation. Our frustration seems insurmountable and we are plagued with thoughts of giving up.

I am sure we can all relate to these feelings and for some of us we might need to raise both hands. It is hard to move past this in our own adult lives but it is heartbreaking to watch this happen with our children. What can we do to support our children when they have important work but become discouraged in the process?

How can we walk the thin line between enabling and saving our children from struggle and offering support and scaffolding?

As a teacher and a parent, I feel walking this thin line is one of the most important and yet most challenging  things we are called to do with our children.

This list below was written with much fervor in the hopes of providing the class direction and structure for caring for our young chicks.It was deemed a necessity for the survival of the chicks but writing this long detailed list, and stretching each word proved to be challenging. Creative flow wavered back and forth between writer's block and fear of making a mistake.

1. Make a chain (to mark the days until their birth).
2. List of names. Make 12 names (for each chick).
3. Make a calendar.
4. Make a list of rules (denoting etiquette and safety for interacting with the chicks).
5. Check the incubator.
6. How will we know when the eggs hatch?
7. Will the first person the chicks see think it is their mom?

Learning and practicing a skill takes a long time. Remember the turtle...slow and steady wins the race. Children cannot always see their own progress. They are aware of the progress of others and mistake closing that gap as their goal. We need to help them witness their own progress and set realistic goals based on where they want to go.

Mistakes are the sparks for learning not the summary of what has been learned. Failure can mark the beginning of learning not the end of learning.

Provide a safe opportunity for children to release their feelings. As they release, listen to the emotions they are taping into and less to the words that they are using.

Try to give the ownership of the problem to the child and still co-construct strategies as they solve the current problems and simultaneously develop a framework for solving future problems.

Despite my years of teaching and parenting, I still feel like a novice  as I practice what I have gleaned. How do you support children as they work through their challenges and difficult moments?

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