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Discovering vs. Learning

I just got my son this toy to play with.

I showed him how to press the yellow button and how the monkey popped out. I was so excited when he understood right away and did it on his own. I was about to show him how the rest of the switches work as well, but then I realized that I was about to deprive him from the joy of learning and discovering on his own.

I am really excited that I stopped when I did. I understood that I was so impressed to see that he was able to press the button, and I wanted to know what else he can do.

Not only that I would have deprived him from experiencing and learning on his own (and getting the confidence of knowing he can do it by himself), I would have also created an expectation for him to fulfil– a challenge that he might have failed in, and create the basis of him feeling how it is to fail and see his mother disappointed and maybe avoid trying in the future.

As parents we should understand that our role is to give our children opportunities. We should not pressure them to take the opportunity or feel disappointment when they don’t (or do and fail to excel). We should provide them with a variety of nutritional, tasty food – but we should not spoon feed them or force them to eat. We should provide a variety of thought food, but we should not test them on it.

Children are naturally curious. They love learning, experiencing and discovering new things. As their parents we should nurture that, and not kill this beautiful inner motivation they have – by testing, overloading, boring or challenging our children too much. We should make sure that learning is only fun, so later, they might keep this inner motivation – even in the face of strict teachers and boring rigorous tests.

I know this, and was still about to teach my child, instead of letting him learn. Sometimes controlling ourselves is the hard part in our journey with our children. I stopped myself now and hopefully I will do it again next time the opportunity presents itself. Just one step at a time being the best parent I can be.

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