Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures (They Don't Always "Get It")

It’s a free for all Friday.  Thank you for joining me!!!  Last Friday, my blog idea literally fell from a tree (leaves).  This week, it was found in a much lower place.

A couple of days ago, I was lying face down on a cold soccer field attempting to collect myself and assess the damage.  My body was in a bit of shock.  I knew I had injured myself; but didn’t know the extent. 

I was participating in a parents versus kids soccer game.  This was the Cameron’s last practice of the season; so the game was a surprise to him.  As is common in soccer games, all the kids were surrounding the parent who had the ball.  I was waiting on the other side of the field when the ball was kicked to me.  I had quite a bit of field to cover; but it was me versus the 1st grade goalie and my eyes were wide. (HA HA)  I dribbled the ball unimpeded.  As I was about to take a shot at the goal, that’s when the injury happened. According to the coach, I hit a bad spot on the field and my ankle gave out.

My foot swelled up quite a bit but I’ll be fine.  The real story behind this blog happened after the injury. My son ran to me quickly.  He is a very empathetic child; so I didn’t know how he would take the sight of his old man being down.  Unfortunately, I found out quickly.  He jumped on my back and attempted to ride me like a horse.  He just didn’t “get it.”

After practice, I limped back to the car.  Driving home, my foot throbbed.  I brought up the incident to Cameron saying it may have not been a good idea to jump on my back.  I received a surprising reaction; he laughed.  I wasn’t upset but clearly; he still didn’t get it.  Then, I asked if it would be a good idea for me to jump on his back if he were hurt and that’s when the light bulb clicked. He meekly replied, “no.”

The lesson I learned from this story is kids don’t always know what we think they know.  This problem doesn’t occur only with 6 year olds like Cameron either.  For example, how many children in middle school have tried smoking?  How many teens have driven dangerously on the highway?   How many times has your child done something so silly/dangerous; it left you angry and confused?

The key for a child to “get” any issue you are teaching is education.  Education has two components:
1.  You have taught the child “x.”
2.  The child has “proven” he/she has learned the lesson. 

Here’s a word to the wise.  Never believe a child has learned the lesson by merely asking, “Do you understand?”  For example, you should notice I didn’t chastise Cameron for jumping on my back when I was in pain.  It would have been useless for me to holler at Cameron, “DON’T JUMP ON MY BACK, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” I would have received the proper response form Cameron; but it doesn’t mean he would have been “educated.”  I believe simply turning the scenario around on him was a much more effective strategy. 

When I was a teacher, “proving” the child learned the lesson may have been in the form of a test.  At home, there are numerous ways to tell whether a child really learned their lesson. Please be patient with your kids.  You will teach many lessons which won’t be truly learned the first try. 

How do I know Cameron really “learned his lesson?”  The short answer is I’m not positive he did.  But his facial reaction when I turned the scenario around gave me a positive sign.  One more positive sign came the next morning.  With my foot swollen, I was limping significantly.  My routine on school days is to sit with him while he eats his breakfast.  When Cameron saw me, he approached, held out his hand and said, “Hey dad, let me help you to the table.” His reaction to me was touching. 

Here’s a quick assignment I want you to ponder.  Think of a time you were trying to teach your child an important lesson.  What strategy did you use and what were the signs to know whether the strategy was effective? 

I hope you have a beautiful weekend with your family.  Please check out this Monday’s education blog.  I am going to piggyback off last Monday’s blog (The Achievement Gap).  The blog will focus on how parents can continue to widen the gap over others who are not putting in the effort needed for the job.  It’s easy and effective!!!  

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