Abstract Parenting

I have been planning on writing a blog post about some of the the cool things my kiddos have learned in school this year, and of course, I wanted to throw in a thing or two that I learned myself, but instead, I am totally calling myself out on some seriously impatient teaching. Sometimes my kindergarten student knows more about her school work than I do. Seriously. In short, I have learned to listen, ask, wait, consider, and be open before I start judging, critiquing, or correcting. And the sad thing is, that seems like a pretty basic concept to me, something I thought I knew, but, ya know, I found myself to be quite the rashly critiquing Mama on several occasions, only to find out I should have waited to understand what my kid was working with. My most recent lesson on judging my children’s effort quickly and poorly?…

Our favorite reading and writing lesson around here is to work with comprehending, copying, and narrating living books. So, my kindergarten student was copying a quote from her favorite scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and drawing a picture of what she thought that scene might look like. I walked away from her for a few minutes, then came back to see an odd drawing swirled and scratched onto her page.

Well, I was pretty frustrated and disappointed. This was her writing journal, not some loose piece of scratch paper. This could not be erased and redone for goodness sake! (Well, it could have been redone, but you know, I was dramatic Mama in that moment…) I took a deep breath while contemplating my first words, trying to decide if I believed her main struggle there to be laziness, impatience to complete her work carefully, or indifference, but thankfully, before I began a lecture of some sort, I found some small piece of motherly wisdom hidden somewhere behind my frazzled imperfection and asked her about her drawing, (of course I was thinking that maybe she could see the error of her own ways without me pointing out that she wasn’t even thinking about or caring about her work). And then, the little amazing creation of a kid says to me, “It’s abstract art. So you can’t understand what I was doing, but I can because I’m the artist, so I’ll explain it to you.” And then she continues on with an explanation of every little detail in the picture and why she made it a certain way and what it made her imagine and think. Okay, so wow. Taught me a lesson to always assume a student is lazy or indifferent just because the assignment was not completed exactly how I thought it would be. She followed all directions. She had a good attitude, and she even applied her last art lesson to her reading lesson, which is always cool to see subject lines crossed. And ya know, for all the doubters and funny people out there, maybe, just maybe she did speed through the assignment and then came up with a quick response later on, which was actually true and applicable. Well? Either way….planned or unplanned, I am totally impressed with this abstract illustration and the explaination I received. And with my attitude?…I was totally unimpressed. Yet, I know there is another day, and I know that I learned something from my child that day and look forward to applying a wait and see method more often than not with my children’s education in the future.  I’m so glad she was in a situation that day which gave her the time and opportunity to explain to me that sometimes I don’t understand everything and need to have it explained to me by the artist herself. 

Honey, I want to say to her, that’s just like my parenting; it doesn’t always seem to make sense, but I”ll do my best to explain it to you. I think I’ll store that example away for our next stormy day.:)

And thank you to my kids’ fabulous art teachers for opening up a world of creativity to them! They are listening and retaining. Great work!