I enjoy reading parenting books. I believe in intentional parenting and guiding my child to become a self-reliant, helpful and independent person by the time she is 18. You’re Not the Boss of Me by Betsy Brown Braun is full of useful tips and tricks on how to help our children along. Some things she writes about (boundaries, routine, dialogue, humor) come naturally to me and my husband, but some are very hard. What is especially hard for both of us is to let our daughter do things her way. We tend to be a bit perfectionistic, especially in the areas of our expertise (math and general science for me, electronics and engineering for my husband), and it’s so hard not to give “helpful suggestions” on how to anything better or why her plan will not work. It’s also hard for me personally not to feel disappointed when the project appears to be a “waste” of materials, time and effort and doesn’t look like anything I envisioned when I proposed a particular activity. This was definitely the case when Smarty pulled Build The Great Wall of China from our China Bucket List. I was thinking of Legos and blocks. Smarty, however, was thinking about clay or playdoh and built her “wall” in her usual grand scale. It was not quite what I had in mind (including spending a package of Model Magic), but this time I managed to just observe her work and share her enjoyment of the process rather than driving her to the finished product. As you can see, she is quite proud of her result. As it turns out, her technique was not that different from the original packed earth wall built more than 2,000 years ago. We learned more about it from China’s Great Wall movie I borrowed from the library. I had no idea that iconic images of The Great Wall actually belong to a much newer construction built when Ming dynasty came to power. The newer wall and its towers are built with bricks. Perhaps there is still a Lego Great Wall in our future, as now Smarty is considering building the next project with bricks.
Your turn: Is it difficult for you to let go of control? Does it get easier with more kids?