Sunday, May 31, 2009

May20_SandAndWaterThe first P in HAPPY parenting principles stands for Practice and Perseverance. I was hoping that it invalidates my previous reaction to an advice on choosing enjoyable activities, but the explanation of this principle still unfolds along the same lines - the child will develop "islands of competence" around activities that excite her enthusiasm and curiosity. "When children discover their strengths, they are more willing to confront even those areas that have proved to be problematic. The idea is not to raise a carbon copy of you or a precocious kid, but an optimistic, resilient, and ultimately autonomous human being."

I think that in principle it sounds good. But I wonder how this principle applies to very young children. I think that every parent in a way tries to do things with their children that they themselves enjoy doing. For example, my husband loved Lego as a child, so he builds elaborate Lego structures for Anna. I was always a reader, and I love reading to her. My neighbor shared that she always sings to her girls (something that we sadly don't do enough), another neighbor is often outside teaching his 3-year-old son to bat and to throw a baseball. In a way we create those islands of competence at a very early stage and shape our children in our own image. When I think of my daughter, I see that her "island of competence" is definitely her language and reasoning skills, but I would like her to learn how to use her hands as well, not just her head. Unfortunately, I am not exactly a role model here, and that's why I am trolling crafts blogs in search of easy ideas that would encourage her to think creatively. That's partially why we decided to send our daughter to preschool for a few mornings every week - I am hoping for different "islands of competence" formed by someone who is more passionate about art or imaginative play.