Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When a Tree Falls

Today S10 was completing a project that he started several days ago.  He was given the responsibility of cutting down a tree.  The trunk of the tree was about four inches in diameter.  The sawing time seemed endless to him.  In truth, he spent about an hour in real effort. 

As he neared the end of the cutting time, he became convinced that he'd never finish.  His technique wasn't efficient and he was spending a lot of effort on limited results.  Sooner or later, regardless of technique, the tree was going to come down.  I knew that when the tree came down, his sense of accomplishment and victory would sky rocket.  The trick was to teach him how to saw more effectively without making him feel discouraged.  I wanted him to remember the sawing with a sense of accomplishment and purpose.  I wanted the entire experience to be one that built him up.

As a parent, it's difficult to balance the need to teach with the desire to encourage.  I never want my children heavy with the weight of instruction and correction.  I want to foster in them a sense of accomplishment and purpose while I teach new skills.  Sometimes, I think I am successful at my effort and sometimes I am thankful that when the tree falls my children know victory no matter how I've taught them how to saw.

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