Monday, July 7, 2014

Enjoying simplicity

Students respond to structure, routines, planned and well-executed lessons.  The word "simple" does not usually come to mind when I think of a classroom.  But, there are two ways that "simple" saves me: 1. I can't overwhelm myself in my work-world.  Not saying I'm less dedicated than when I first started, but I've needed to find ways to balance work/home life.  2. My audience is kids; although some less innocent than others, kids really are simple, unique thinkers.

When I look at the daily activities of a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old on summer vacation, I can't help but smile at these fun, innocent, energetic beings.  Even though they've found the "stash" of toy guns I was trying so desperately to keep away from them; they've found out that wrestling can be fun; they've eaten all of the unhealthy snacks in the pantry, etc, etc, etc... I have to remember that it's just simple fun.
Because by the end of the day, we've counted more laughs and smiles than tears and frowns.  

At first glance, it may seem possible to just live in this bliss. However, raising simple children is no where near easy. A conscious effort is necessary.

Parenting has definitely shifted from times when we were children, a crisis, some say.  The author suggests that many parents today are giving in too easily to children's demands, making children have more power and a sense of entitlement.  Some nuggets from the article:
  • "...setting limits is hard"
  • "Raise the bar and your child shall rise to the occasion."
  • "Show children that shortcuts can be helpful, but that there is great satisfaction in doing things the slow way too."  
Following this advice is by no means 'simple.'  Many parents often will not allow others to help, in fear of appearances.  For example, sometimes my teacher instinct to correct other kids' behavior kicks in, but other times, it doesn't.  Should it depend on the circumstance, situation, people involved?  Should I mind my own business?  When it's about my kids' safety, I'll for sure step in.  And in the long run, everyone involved in raising children to be responsible citizens instead of entitled beings will help develop an overall wellness of society.  Working hard at structuring behaviors now (of any kid around) will likely pay off, and, finally, the simple fun can be enjoyed.

A first lost tooth...
J: "Mom, the tooth fairy didn't come!!!"  
Me: "How do you know?"
J: "There's no fairy dust!"

A third lost tooth, a simple smile: 

The entertainment never ends; a simple trick:

Parenting and teaching require hard, thoughtful processes.  We aim to purposefully reflect on parenting actions that we know will have long-lasting results.  Hoping that, even though it does take effort, we can enjoy simplicity and bury "boys will be boys."

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