The school year has started and we have the opportunity to begin fresh with new goals, work hard and achieve great things academically.
We all want our kids to learn...that is why we send them to school.
If I have learned anything from farm life, it is that there is so much more to learning than just book learning.
As parents, our job is to teach our kids. Whether that means homeschooling, helping them with homework of just showing them how to do things in life.
But as parents, many times we are guilty on not letting our kids learn. We are the ones holding them back and not letting them reach their full potential.
Kids are much more capable of doing things than we think.
Our job is to show them how and then give them the freedom to learn and do.
I will never forget the day my neighbor told me about her toddler and the vacuum cleaner. One day she got out the vacuum to start cleaning and her toddler (probably less than 2 years old at the time) grabbed the end of the cord and headed for the electrical outlet. Naturally, she freaked out and grabbed the cord from her toddler.
We always put those child safety plugs in the outlet because electrical outlets are OFF LIMITS!
Except...the babysitter had taught her daughter how to plug in the vacuum cleaner. That was the toddler's job.
We are so scared that our little ones will electrocute themselves by putting their finger in the outlet, that we don't give them the opportunity to learn how to use it properly. The babysitter had taken the time to show this little girl how to properly plug in the vacuum. She had gone over the dangers and what not to put in the outlet. But, by showing her the correct way to use the plug, she had taken the curiosity out of this off-limits item.
And, we all learned that a little toddler is very capable of following instructions and plugging in a vacuum cleaner.
It got me to thinking about all the things we don't allow our kids to do because they might get hurt or they might fail.
There are so many things we do each and every day that really aren't difficult. But, if we take the time to teach our kids how to do them, they are more than capable of learning to come along side us and help.
Kids are a sponge and will soak up what we teach them. By giving them proper instruction, we can avoid many of the dangers associated with a task.
After we show them how, it is our job to hand over the reigns and walk beside them. Help them when they need help, correct them when correction is needed...
And then let them soar.
Will they do it as well as us?
Will they be as fast and efficient as us?
Probably not...but that is not the point.
The point is...
They can do it!
Besides, they usually learn more from the mistakes than they do from the things done right. When given the freedom and encouragement, they can improve and grow in their abilities...with your guiding hand right beside them.
When Walker first learned to run the bale wrapper, he was slow and kept losing track of when he needed to stop the bale. But, with a little time and practice, he mastered it. Before the end of the first night, he was just as fast on the wrapper as a seasoned adult.
In one night, he went from an observer and little kid entertainer to a valuable member of the team.
There is nothing that can build self-esteem better than learning and doing something, learning to do it well, and securing a place as a valuable member of the team.
Whether it is a little toddler claiming the job of plugging in the vacuum cleaner or a kid running a piece of equipment, there is a place for kids to learn and grow. If we do our jobs of teaching well and them giving the freedom to learn and experience, we are giving them so much more than an education.
We are giving them the ability to learn, the ability to figure things out, the pride in a job well done and the confidence in their own abilities.
So, as we start a fresh new academic year, step back and look for areas to teach...
And then give them the freedom to learn.
Just because they are young and inexperienced doesn't mean they can't.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.