Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Parenting and Teaching: The Dance

I love the analogy of a dance to parenting and teaching.  As we work with children, our own and those we teach, it's a give-and-take relationship--a situation when you want to prompt someone forward with just right encouragement, not too much and not too little.

As a parent and working with parents, I know that nurturing children well, both in our homes and in our classrooms, is a challenging job.  We truly love the children we care for, and want the best for each one. However challenges always exist as we move towards this goal--challenges related to a child's own vision, mindset, interests and skills, environmental challenges such as time, money and commitments, and also the challenges related to our own shortcomings and needs.

So how do we dance this delicate balance of child care and support.  We move with intent and flexibility.  We listen carefully to a child's words, and watch his/her reactions and respond accordingly.  We support their passions and challenge their efforts so they grow strong with stamina, skill, concept and knowledge.  We gradually release them from our close control and guidance to that of independent work and choice. And, we're honest about our own struggles and challenges.  Children are compassionate, and don't expect us to be perfect, but they rely on us to be honest, kind and supportive.

Our care matters, and children know when we care.  It is a big responsibility to nurture and support children, and it's not one that a parent or teacher can cast aside or minimize.  The hard work today results in strong relationships and confident children later, but that success does not come without  challenge and struggle as that's part of the road of life, the way we grow stronger and wiser.

Our collective intent and action towards caring for children well strengthens all of us--parents, teachers and children.  It's a dance, a wonderful dance.