I’m learning mommy stuff again. (Geesh, it never stops.) This time it was about NOT rushing my children. You know how we always expect kids to get things done quickly? We are often caught saying, “Hurry up”, “Get going”, “Faster please!” and in our minds we are screaming, “For CRYING OUT LOUD what on earth is taking soooo long!!!!!”. I just had a experience that reminded me it’s okay to let children take their time. It’s okay to let them do things at their own pace. It’s okay not to rush them. Why didn’t I already know this? I dunno. But at least I’m starting to figure it out. How about you?
Here’s what happened:
Little Son (my 4th grader), who has never liked writing, had a one-page report he had to write on The Canada Lynx (did you know there was such a thing?). It had to be 5 simple paragraphs. No more, no less. It had to be typed.
So I sat with him as he researched information on the internet (I like to be nearby when they are browsing the web). Doing research on the computer is still kinda new to him. So I stayed nearby as he navigated websites and wrote down simple phrases for notes.
Ok. Done with the first part. Still a week or so until it was DUE.
So the next day, he was ready to type up his report. It’s the first report he’s ever had to TYPE. So I sat on the couch nearby in case he had any computer troubles. Well, I ended up falling asleep. I took a nice snooze for at least 30 minutes. When I woke up, I looked over to see how his report was coming a long. “Hopefully, he’s almost done,” I thought.
He had written ONE line. Uno. Thirty minutes and that’s all we had to show for it. I asked if he had been fooling around. He said with complete honesty in his eyes that he had been working on it the whole time. He said he was figuring out what he wanted to say.
It was going to be a looooong afternoon.
Well, it ended up taking him 3 looooong afternoons. He would come home from school and then sit at the computer until dinner-time typing words slowly and thinking for long stretches about what he wanted to say. He didn’t ask for help. He didn’t complain. He just kept thinking and typing. Thinking and typing.
Finally, he asked me to come read the finished report. I was sweetly surprised. His report was AMAZING. The spelling and grammar were well done, but most importantly it was well written! It was interesting! (Who knew The Canada Lynx was interesting?). He had turned his research notes of simple phrases into this: “Deep in the Canadian forests roams a nocturnal prowler, the Canada Lynx!”
I almost couldn’t believe it. I even double-checked to see if he understood not to copy from websites (in case that’s what he did). He assured me that he didn’t, and I realized his notes were just not complete enough for him to do it anyway.
So I got a HUGE smile on my face, gave him a hug, and said, “Little Son, I am so impressed! This is great!”
And Little Son replied, “Mom, just because I don’t like to write, doesn’t mean I can’t do it.”
Good point. I’m glad I didn’t rush him through his report this time. I’m glad I let him take the time to think and type and think and type. I may have never known that he could actually write.
So next time you feel inclined to hurry your child and make them do it as fast as you want, remember that sometimes it’s okay to let your child take their time.
What are your thoughts? What are your strategies for being patient while children do something at their own pace? How can I be even better at being patient?