I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Philippians 4:13
When your children come home with a major project due, what is your first gut reaction? Many parents immediately feel like someone just dropped a huge weight on their shoulders because of the extra work they will have to do. I would like to take a moment, lift that huge weight off, and help provide a different approach.
As a teacher, trust me, we know when a child did the work on their own and when mom or dad did it for—I mean with…the child. While the product may look stunning, my first response as a teacher was always: Did the child learn anything through the process?
Now before some get too offended, please go with me here for a moment.
I know all too well how anxious we can get as parents when we see a big project before our children. We question how the teacher could expect them to do all this work. We want it to be a product of which they can be proud! We want them to care about what it looks like! We want them to have fun! I’ve been there. My urge to center each picture just right on my son’s poster made me look like a mad woman! My desire, especially as an English teacher, to correct every editing and spelling error made me even worse. Fun? What fun? It was a stressful tug-of-war with my son all in an effort to impart my wishes for his project.
You see, all I was focused on was the product, and this ridiculous idea that his confidence may take a hit when he saw how great all the other posters looked. And in all honesty, since I taught in that school, my pride and ego were caught up in how his poster looked! I doubted what my own son could do because of my own neuroses.
And what did he learn through this process?
- He learned that all he had to do was sit back wait for me to take control.
- He learned that Mom didn’t think he could do it on his own.
- He learned that his best wasn’t good enough for one of the most important people in his life—his mom.
Thankfully, at one point, a very loving person (my mom, who has taught English for over 40 years) threw my “teacher hat” in my face, and lovingly said, “lighten up.” The project is your son’s. You’ve already been through second grade. Now let your child go through the learning process!
I learned my lesson early in his life, and I recognized that I was hurting my son more than I was helping him. It is truly my prayer that whoever reads this will stop, take inventory, and seek God’s Word for the many examples of His disciples. They were not coddled. Someone didn’t step in and do the hard work for them. They were challenged! When I think of everything the Apostle Paul experienced, I am floored by the obstacles that were placed before him. But he DID NOT WAVER, and his faith was made stronger! The “product” he became was an unbelievable disciple of Christ. We need to allow our children to experience good challenges and go through the learning process!