We read much about child development, milestones, what children think, what they should know and on and on it goes. Mommy blogs, advice blogs, professional blogs, INSTAGRAM fill the universe with endless how to, don't do, should do.
Here's my two cents on the infoverse. I write this without prejudice or judgement!
When I look for information I'm likely to turn to the sources that inform from well lived experiences. My thinking is how can we teach other's to be teachers if we've never been in a classroom? How can we guide other parents if we've never reared a child. I've raised three children and what I thought I knew, and trust me I thought I knew alot about children, given my education and line of work, in reflection could have been much better. NOTHING arms us better than experience. If I could go back and raise my children again, knowing what I know at 60, I wonder at the mother I would have been! Not to say that they are not remarkable adults :)
Having said this, here is my thinking for today that can be added to the infoverse!
Children truly are a marvel and no other time in a human life is as remarkable as childhood.
They live with abandonment. From the minute they wake up in the morning to the time they go to bed at night, they seek, explore, experience and marvel!
They are not scarred by the pounding of life's daily struggles, hurts and disappointments.
Children are fearless! They leap into the day not concerned with outcome. They don't plan their day based on a perceived outcome. They live in the moment.
The wonder of being becomes fragmented and jaded when children engage with soured teachers, unfit parents, malicious peers. Over time LIFE beats them down and the flame begins to fade to embers. Hopefully the embers do not burn out.
Everyone grows up, we have no choice. Time is an unyielding master and he pushes us forward.
So, what can we do to ensure that the we leave our students and our own children with the potential they are born with?
We cannot pound children with expectations. Read faster, count quicker, play sports, toilet train at 12 months, paint like Picasso, write like Shakespeare. Care to educate yourself so you understand the stages of development they are in and know that each child moves at their own pace. No need to rush. They will all learn to read and write. Children are not trophies and do not need to be showcased to validate our existence.
Acknowledge that a child may have struggles. No need to pave the path with fairy dust. Life is not perfect. Their journey will not be perfect. Struggles define character and teach children to solve problems.
Give your child the gift of limits. Everyone needs boundaries! Set them early in life so they do not devlop of sense of entitlement. It's okay to say no when it is required. Simple expectations such as tidy your toys, eat meals at the table, don't colour on furniture go a long way to helping children accept when expectations become greater.
Listen, listen, listen!
Create a culture of sharing daily experiences in your class and home. Each child has a voice. Put down you PHONES, stop rushing and care to know about your child's day. Even an infant, by gauing their mood, can express themselves. Stop putting your children to bed at 6 p.m! They nap at school so why are you rushing them off to sleep. Go for a walk, play, extend bath time, throw a ball. These days will never come again. Your own need for quiet time at the end of the day is not a priority anymore. There will be plenty of time for quiet later on and then you will seek the noise!
No single material possession that you give a child is greater than your time.
Read books. The act of sharing a story is in itself a time for bonding.
Connect children to the nature. No toy or loose part can replace or provide more value than a walk through the woods!
Cooping a child indoors while you widdle the hours away on your phone and glance at them once in awhile is a pathetic way to be with your child. Lift your eyes, one day very soon that child will be walking out the door on their own and you will wonder where time has gone and the regrets will begin to fill your heart. You can NEVER go back.
You can fail at many things in your life. Failing as a parent or teacher leaves lasting ripples and the direction of those ripples cannot be changed once they are set in motion.