In this 2009, “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, we have three panels with no dialogue. Simply a young boy of 5 or 6, coming out of his house door; with his mother peeping through a window. Then he is walking blithely down the street; with his mother’s head peeping out from behind a tree. Then we have him walking up to another house happily; with yet again his mother peeping from behind a bush. Then in the final panel, we have this dialogue to his young friend: “Guess what Lawrence… My mum let me walk all the way here by myself." And there, right at the bottom of the panel, is mum collapsed in a heap from worry and just glad he got there safe.
Ever felt like you had to do similar? I did and have. Many moons ago, back in the day when we had an afternoon paper, I was in the habit after work of going down to the local Milk Bar, about 400 metres, actually yards in those days, which would also be little shorter than 400 metres!
Regardless, I used to walk a short distance to the local milk bar with the Dog and my two oldest children. But this day we were expecting a visitor for tea and I was concluding that I didn’t really have time to go get a paper then, when my son, about 5 then, volunteered to go down the street and get it himself and even take the dog with him, as he knew what to do as he always accompanied me when I went.
Not too happy about that, but not wanting to dampen his enthusiasm, I let him go and so off happily he went with good old Daisy to get my paper for me by himself. However I was also like the mother in this cartoon and followed him behind. Actually our visitor arrived just then, so both of us followed behind out of sight, while he bought the newspaper without much trouble.
In fact what trouble he did have, was caused by me just when he came out of the shop and was untying the dog, and she caught either sight or smell of me, and wanted to come to me, so I had to beat a hasty retreat while he regained control of her and returned happily home, proud that he had done it all by himself.
Funnily enough after having done it the once, he never volunteered to do it again for quite some time for which I was also very happy then. But now wonder why I can’t get him to go down the street and get a paper for me some quarter of a century later!
Anyway, the point of today’s ramblings is, that sometimes we have to let our children and even our colleges, have a go at things, even if we don’t think they are quite ready, so as not to dampen their enthusiasm . Of course, as in the two above examples, that doesn’t mean we should always leave them completely unsupervised, but that we should supervise them in such a way that they can both do it all by themselves, but also have help on hand if needed!
So as we close now, is their anyone you need to allow the space and opportunity to allow them to find out whether they really can do it all by themselves yet? Again over to you now.