Learning from Our Kids

Recently I took my two boys to Discovery World for a family class where we designed lamp shades and made lamps.  (This is though a great program called Kohls Design-It Labs.  I didn't find out about this program until recently. ) 

In this class, my oldest son designed his lamp shade with so much detail - that he could not possibly finish it in the allotted 90 minute class time.  He drew and talked with excitement about his idea of creating a different theme for each side of the lamp.  He talked nonstop.

My youngest son was quicker with his lamp design.  But, he also took his time tracing, cutting, and gluing shapes all over the fabric of the lamp shade.  He wanted a hanging lamp.   As he traced, he told me over and over how he planned to hang the lamp in his bedroom right next to his bed.

As the time ticked on, I worried a little that my boys would be upset when they realized they would not have time to finish.  I was concerned that this outing may eventually prove frustrating for them.  You see, the other parents in the room had more experience with projects like this.  These parents seemed at ease helping their kids move along.  They knew how to use wire and wood sticks to keep the shades firm.  They knew how to teach their kids to work with fabric and paper to form a desired shape.   I, on the other hand, stood there with a hot glue gun - smiling and shrugging my shoulders.  I looked at the wire on our table with zero clue what to do with it.   After about 30 minutes, my 8 year old took the exacto knife out of my hands -  claiming to be a better cutter.   (He was.)   For this lamp project, I simply did not have the skills for help my kids move quickly.  For this project, we were learning together.

When the class ended, as expected, both my kids still were not finished with their lamps.  However, they still talked about their ideas as they grabbed lamp chords and art supplies to take with us.  They made it clear they wanted to finish their projects at home.  They did not care nor do I think they noticed that other kids were further ahead with their lamps.  They saw nothing wrong with their unfinished work - but instead wanted to see the rest of the museum, have nachos and hot dogs, play with the wave machine, and then go home. 

To my relief and revelation that day,  my lack of building skills:  so visible, important, and obvious through my eyes - were completely invisible and non-existent through the eyes of my kids.  They did not care.  From my perspective, I was the clumsy parent who could not draw or cut a straight line.  However, from the perspective of my kids, I was just their mom.

I am convinced that the most creative, talented, inwardly beautiful, and honest people I know are children.

The video below before reminds me of this belief.  The girl in the video, only 12 years old, is amazing. She talks about the importance of the continuous learning that should take place between adults and children.  Just as it is important to teach our kids new things, it is also important for us to learn (maybe relearn is a better word) from them as well.  Relearn things like honesty, endless optimism, and being creative without worrying about limitations.

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