Tag: trusting children

Raising adults.

Dean and Dorathea Noll

Further proof that time flies.

The morning my 18 year old got on a plane to fly off to Europe with her cousin, I came upon a brand new human in the arms of said human’s brand new mama. The baby was 3 weeks, maybe 4. I tried to keep our exchange light but I cried as I spoke giving all the adorations due and speaking a few warnings too, “Oh so beautiful! Oh so tiring! Hold on tight because it’s a wild ride and TIME! SHE FLIES!!!” I had become THAT woman.

I remember the days of my early parenting when middle aged women and older would stop my cart in the grocery store to ogle my youngins. Their yearning was not for my baby really, but for their own babies now turned fully grown adults. “Enjoy it,” they’d say with eyes overflowing with tears. “Because before you know it, they’re gone.”

I didn’t know what they meant back then but I smiled at them as if I comprehended their tearful message. Those days of tending babies seemed interminable. The endless feedings and changings and night-time awakenings seemed like this was how it was and this was how it would always be.

But days passed. Years too. And suddenly my tiny newborn was navigating her 6′ frame into the airport for a curbside drop-off no less. “Fly little birdie, fly,” I cried, wanting to pull her back into the nest but knowing that her wings were already spread.

Sentimental tears come much easier to me now that I am 50. It is partly the age, partly the parenting and partly seeing that life can be short. I do not even attempt to hide the tears that flow and my kids chide me for my public displays of emotion. So, if you happen to see me and you have a brand new human in your arms, I will most likely approach you. Don’t worry, I won’t stay long, but I will stay long enough to breathe in the newness of life and warn you that truly, it is all a blink.

And we are not raising children. We are raising adults.

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Teaching and parenting

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.

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