The Wisdom of a 9 Year OldA rare thing happened today. I had nothing to do and it has been wonderful. I decided to take the cardboard on my back porch to the recycling center at Wesselman's Park here in town. I asked my oldest son Micah if he wanted to go with me and then walk the nature trails. He was eager to join me and we were on our way. I didn't talk much on our little adventure but spent most of the time listening to my son. I was amazed at how many things he said that made me think about school. Here are just a few of the wise things my son said to me throughout the day.
"Man, this is going to be a great trip for my brain."
He said this after we had just started on the trails and he had stopped to read an informational sign about birds. Made me think about if we provide the same trips for our students. If I ever go back to the classroom, I will post this saying in my classroom. Every day should be a great trip for your brain.
"Dad, this is great. It was your idea to come here but now that we're here you're letting me pick which way to go."
Micah said this after we had come to a fork in the trail and I let him pick which way to go. This is something we can all do better for our students. I might pick for my students what we are going to study next. However, once we get our students into the forrest, why not let them pick the path. Any path my son picked would have eventually led us to the same end. We can and should provide the same thing for our students.
"I'm so glad we had this conversation, or else I never would have thought of that!"
My son loves the idea of inventing. He is constantly talking to me about his next invention. During our walk I was just letting him spout off any idea he wanted with no judgement or negative feedback. We were just talking about it. I'm not even sure what I said now, but something I said sparked the above comment. Nothing can replace having genuine conversations with your students. I didn't have all the answers and neither do you but by collaborating with my son, together, we were on to something.
"I know I make mistakes sometimes but that's how I learn."
Micah was caught up in talking to me about Pokemon when a tree branch stepped out in front of him. I asked him if he was ok and he fired back the above quote. It was the last branch he ran into that day. Don't be afraid to let your students fail. Don't be afraid to let yourself fail. It's how we all learn. You're not a failure until you stop learning from your mistakes.
"You know, this is a good way to build a father-son relationship."
It's amazing when you go out of your way to make a kid feel special, you are one that ends up feeling special. As a father of three boys I do my best to spend time with each of them individually. I took my middle son on a trip to Walmart to pick out ice cream later in the day and videoed my son Levi dancing to Rio. As a teacher, we need to make sure we spend time with each student on an individual basis. I know are classes are full and our time is booked. However, we do our best work with the students we have a healthy relationship with.
Take time this week and talk to a child. You'll be amazed how much better you will feel and how much you will learn.