Do you enjoy the process of creating a project or is your focus the end product?
Are you more concerned about the grades your kids get in school or what they are actually learning?
If we are working to just get things done or to achieve and “A”, we can miss the experiences and opportunities that occur during the process. Learning happens from failure even more than from success. Think about inventors and how many times they failed before creating a successful invention.
It is vital that we encourage our children to engage in the process and have the time and space they need in order to progress towards the end product.
As always, our example is the best teacher.
In our day to day life, it is important to take things one step at a time.
When you find yourself in a rush to get things done, do you have any enjoyment in what you are doing?
Think of a time when you had the gift of time and were in the moment. Maybe you were on vacation and learning to snorkel off the coast of Catalina Island, or riding a horse along the coast of Mexico, or playing in the sand with your kids on Myrtle Beach. It could be a simple moment in the middle of the day when you stepped outside and listened to the birds, noticed a flower or curl up with a book at the end of your day.
We need to practice living in the moment and taking things one step at a time before we can expect our children to learn this skill.
The other important aspect of allowing our children time is in regards to transitions. When we need them to move from one activity to another we need to take into consideration their age, personality and what is important to them.
I demonstrated this to my husband several years ago.
When you are working in your basement office of our house and in the middle of the project that you need 30 minutes to complete and I call down to tell you it is time for dinner, how would you respond if I said to you:
Don, it is time for dinner now! I expect you to stop what you are doing and come to the kitchen immediately.
Don, dinner is in five minutes and if you are not in the kitchen at that time, there will be consequences!
How would you feel if your partner or another adult spoke to you this way?
Children are people too and need time to process what is being asked of them. They also deserve the respect of shared expectations and having more than a five minute warning. If we forget to talk about our expectations ahead of time and find ourselves in a hurry, we can not expect others to jump to our demands because we did not better plan our time. I also believe in setting expectations ahead of time for things like dinner time and having a family policy that everyone is both aware of and has had a chance to voice an opinion about and even participate in the process of making that policy.
Give your children the gift of time today; time to allow them to be who they are and take the time to be present in the moment with them.