Gever Tulley was here in Austin this weekend, as you may well know from me going on and on on my various blogs and sites. He is the founder of the Tinkering School, now a summer camp but one day soon perhaps a K-12. I was fortunate to share a stage with him and with Carrie Contey on Friday night and then participate in various workshops all weekend long.

He had a lot to say about working with kids, and how we can give them the reins a little bit more than we do. We can trust their skills and their knowledge and, when the actual facts may not be there just yet, we can trust their creativity and problem solving. In Tinkering School the elders are known as collaborators, not teachers. “They may have bigger hands that can tighten a nut a little tighter, but that doesn’t make them the authority.”

I am really going to try to take those words and that sentiment into my parenting. I am going to try to remember the collaborative part. Because really, since we’ve been around longer, we may know more about what already is, but we don’t know more about the ideas that have yet to be formed. (I am going to make this my new mantra.) I’m going to try to listen more and dictate less. I am going to trust that the mistakes are part of the process and that really, there is often more to be learned from the mistakes than from an easy success. So, though as parents we have a desire to “save” our kids from failing/falling/faltering,  perhaps the very best thing we can do is to let them experience it on their own and from there give them the tools and support they need to figure out the solution.

Gever wasn’t really speaking about parenting, but really he was.