Last Sunday I was having lunch with my family in my sister's garden. We were celebrating my 5 year old niece's birthday and of course, we were going to have a piñata. Emilio, my 10 year old nephew offered to hang it up, and his parents said yes. He began trying to do so, with very obvious and conservative methods, and was struggling. My brother in law offered to help, Emilio refused. Then he asked one of his cousins to crouch down so he could climb on his back, this plan failed.
Seeing this, his siblings and cousins approached to help, they decided to make a human pyramid to reach the tall branch of the tree and hag the rope. Their grandma, of course, stood up and told them to be careful and that they should ask an adult for help because it was dangerous. After this, my other brother in law, stood up and told them he could do it, to which they refused again.
It had taken him about 3 hours, but he had done it on his own. And him, and everyone else around him had learned many different things in the process. Every parent I have ever talked to says they want their children to be independent, resourceful people, with problem solving abilities; but are we really willing to do, or not do, what is necessary for them to be able to achieve that? Every adult at the table felt the need to help, but our help was not only unnecessary, but also unwanted.
Every parent, grandparent, teacher, or adult in a child's life, in their own way, has been guilty of doing something for their children that could have been done by themselves, at least a couple of times. Reasons for this can go from simply wanting to speed things up due to the hurried life we live, feeling it is dangerous, to actually believing they are not able. No matter what the reason is, the message we are constantly giving them can be one of two, “don´t bother trying, I can do it better” or, “here you have what you want/need, without having done anything to get it”; either message results in the opposite outcome of what parents really want their children to learn.
Miss Jimena Septién Godard
English Academic Coordinator