Thursday, November 12, 2009

A little teaching perspective

I'm not a teacher by trade, but of course as a parent, I'm charged with teaching my kids in the ins and outs of the world, manners, ethics, morals, and all that wonderful stuff in my attempt to build them into decent little characters. I taught my oldest, now 4 the wonderful lesson of perseverance and trying when at first you don't succeed. This is a story that falls into the "TMI Mom!" category, for when my child is 15 and is trying to convince me that I don't love him, because I said no to some outrageous demand, me telling this story online is going to be his evidence. Nevertheless, it's too freaking funny, so I'm going to share and pay the teenaged devil which will inhabit my child in all too short a time, his due when it's time.

So yesterday I'm driving my little ones home after picking DS1 or The Ninja up from Montessori school. In this type of school at this age, kids are allowed to self direct which activities they want to do. They're encouraged to try, but if the kid resists, then so be it, they'll try another day. Anyhow, my son was telling me about how he tried out this activity, but it was too hard, so he's never going to do it again. I turned on my gentle mom encouraging voice (as opposed to, "You're going to do this NOW" mom voice-reserved for tidy up time) and explained to him the value of perseverance. I wasn't getting through, so using what little brain power I had left after this very bad week, I half remembered, half plaguerized the story of The Little Engine That Could. It worked! I'm driving in insane traffic, weaving a yarn and I had them mesmorized! I poured my heart and soul into remembering and embellishing this story. Even the little guy was listening, in awe that mommy was telling such an amazing story without a book. I threw in the phrases "try, try, again" and "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" I don't even know if they both belong to the original story, but it was driving the point home. At the end of the story, which coincided with the last leg of our journey through our ravine, I saw my point had really sunk in and I sat so high on my laurels.

We went into the house and carried on our afterschool business of snacks, toy playing, dinner prep and my usual mom chat with a friend while we make our families their food. After dinner, I was preparing a bath for the guys, when I noticed them in the downstairs bathroom. My big guy was on the toilet, the little guy playing with the tap. The Ninja was shifting a little, I asked him if he was having a hard time, and he said, "If I just push with all my might, I can do it!" to which I started giggling and the kids looked confused. The Ninja then started sound effects for my benefit, which cracked his little brother up, boys start so young. As I was leaving, to check on the tub, The Ninja then applied my lesson, I overheard him saying "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!" Followed by a "Yippee Oh Ki Yay!" and "Mommy! You were right!" least he understands the value of perseverance. Hopefully in the future, he'll apply it to more than just the bathroom.

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