Parenting is teaching

I teach my kid every day. Not just the alphabet and how to count — all her toys do that, anyway — but how to manipulate objects in her environment, how to treat people, how to deal with new situations and things outside our control.

On his Facebook page, Joe Hedges summed up teaching like this:

Hey, check this out. Isn’t it cool? Now you try it! Yeah, pretty good, but I bet you can do better. No, you can’t leave early.

That, to me, is also how you parent. (Though that last item is sometimes replaced by “Yes, we have to leave now.”)

I’m teaching her about the world so that in a few (way too few) years, she’ll know enough to go live in it. Which is what school tries to do, too. But I think something gets lost in both parenting and school (at least, I don’t remember there being a tremendous amount of emphasis on it when I was growing up): Those first two sentences in Joe’s summary.

Hey, check this out. Isn’t it cool?

We assume kids will find their own cool stuff on their own — and if not, the TV will show them what’s cool. But there is so much more to life than what comes through the television. Fireflies and fingerpainting and flowers and fireworks. (And there are 25 other letters in the alphabet — this could go on for years.)

So I’m making it a point to incorporate discovery into our daily lives. I might learn something, too. Which would be cool, because I also love learning new things.

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