We love to protect our kids. So, it is against everything we believe in, to back off and let them find themselves via failure.
I watch my son hang wistfully on the fringes of social play, watching stronger boys play ball. I try to hide my fear that he will be rejected, left out. I smile and watch the play as a spectator myself. John sort of follows the pack, up and down the court. Some days, he works up the courage to worm himself into the play. Other days, it is strictly watching from the edges.
What matters is that day when he will be in the play because he wants it enough in all the little ways that have to come together to make something happen.
We wait for the magic of Self-Directed Learning (SDL), which leads to intrinsic motivation and readiness for independence.
Self-Directed Learning can only start when we fade our prompts, and back off. Our kids have to fail, feeling loss and pain, to become motivated to use their grit.
They can surprise us with their abilities, and we must not underestimate their strengths. We bleed while we wait and watch. We want to rescue.
But John doesn’t learn anything when I rescue him.
Not quite in on the play. Today.
So, what motivates your child?
When you aren’t looking over his shoulder, why does your child do what he does?
And are you glad about that choice? Do you see intrinsic motivation? This good-choice-inside-coming-out means your child is “in-the-flow”.
You know that feeling: when you are doing something you love and time stands still.
Here is John at school happy and smiling because “he did a good job” (that sentence he created without prompts).
Would NOT have occurred mere months ago. The markers would have been flying across the room instead.
So, sharing this with you I hope encourages you to be consistent in all you do for your child’s learning. Continue to work with your team on finding what your child loves to do. Dance joyously in your heart if they are motivated by and take pride in what they do.
Then use that shamelessly and wisely to help your children develop skills they can keep and use: Achievement because it makes them happy inside.
And share with other parents, because stuff always changes.
As my neighbor Helene told me her mom always said, “It’s a wonderful life if you just don’t weaken.”
No one is stronger than our kids who hold up against learning differences. We can help them find the joy in their motivation.