Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Have Faith In & Gift Children with Independence

Thanks to the Yummy Mummy Club for once again printing an article of mine.

Dr. Martin Brokenleg who co-wrote Reclaiming Youth at Risk, impresses upon his readers that in order for children to grow into responsible adults who follow their hearts and are at peace, they must feel that they:

Are Masters of Something
Know Independence
Consciously Choose Generosity

Many years ago, I enveloped Dr. Brokenleg’s strategies and used them with each age group that I was teaching. With all students, including those in kindergarten, I wanted them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they not only belonged in this place called school, but that they belonged with me. If they felt that they belonged with me, then I knew I could take them those extra steps toward greater confidence with ease rather than force.

Being a master of something is important to youngsters and assists in building great confidence. It is crucial to delve deeply and assist in discovering each child’s gift or talent and then having the faith in him or her to work with this and persevere with a deed, through practice. It is okay to buy Velcro® fastened shoes for 5-year-olds while they are learning to tie but it is also fundamental to continue to teach them to tie. The confidence that this offers a 5-year-old is immense and builds on the next success as does riding a bike, zipping a Ziploc® bag, and opening and closing containers.

My young Kinders held such belief in themselves when they could successfully cross the playground on the glider. I deemed it an important learning and stood and helped them and guided them across never letting them fall except into my arms, until they had mastered it and even though it may have seemed like a minor accomplishment, I knew it was great.

My advice to parents is, as your children grow, it is more than okay to have faith in them that they can perform age appropriate tasks, and to support them in mastering each little feat, as those achievements become overall triumphs that help them to be independent and in turn choose to be generous with their gifts and talents.