I am seeing myself in my son. He is ten years old and, at this point in his development, I remember being a fifth grade student. I struggled a bit in my mind because my likes and dislikes were different than “the other guys”. My learning practices felt like I might be sitting on a limb of a tree watching the clouds go by while the other kids were planting new trees together, climbing trees, and did not notice that I was there. It did not make me feel lonely, though. I did feel a bit misunderstood at times. Thinking back I wish that someone would have noticed that I felt that way. Not to blame anyone for not noticing but, for me, the ball is back in my court.
My drive is to seek to understand the reason, the foundation, the workings, and the beauty of going out on that same limb and observing but now, if I am honest, my son is sitting next to me. I can see the struggle and I struggle with him. I noticed that my attributes were similar and, in understanding him, I began to understand myself. This meant being patient and understanding of him (and of myself). Honing in on my expectations and communication methods with him (and with myself). It is the mirror effect. I would argue that we have similar circumstances with our own children and with the children in education that we teach.
Walking down the hallway at school this week I was reminded of the foundation that we are responsible for building with the students. No matter how different and distant our days become as we rush to accomplish, check the boxes, and be productive, we are blank canvases. They are blank canvases. I would argue that we are looking in the mirror most of the day and our greatest frustrations are our greatest images of ourselves. Conversely, this is where, for me, my growth and hope lie.
— Spring Hill ES (@springhillsuns) August 18, 2016
To help me understand these concepts, I enjoy podcasts and two in particular were meaningful from Focus on the Family. The resources are linked individually here but also in coordination with the broadcast episodes in the broadcast links.
- Nurturing Your Child’s Intelligences (Part 1 of 2)
- Nurturing Your Child’s Intelligences (Part 2 of 2)
Q and A:
Q: How am I smart?
A: Page 1 (PDF)
Q: How can I awaken children’s smarts?
A: Page 2 (PDF)
Q: How can I paralyze children’s smarts?
A: Page 3 (PDF)
Q: How can I strengthen children’s smarts?
A: Page 4 (PDF)
Q: What are multiple intelligences and how can I recognize them in others?
A: Kathy Koch provides resources and explanations on the question that children may ask, “Am I smart?”. The answer is always, “yes”! Read more in these articles which summarize the 8 great smarts go in more detail about the smarts.
At this time of the school year, we are seeing our children settle in and the evidence is growing to know them. They want to be known … individually … and these resources helped me see more clearly from a distance and are allowing me to appreciate their smarts by working through my own notions of understanding me. Let’s get ourselves out of the way and look with eyes that see more clearly.