One day, Dominic decided he wanted to balance his toy cars on top of each other. I knew it was a little silly and that it was going to be a little difficult with the coordination that he has at his tender age, but I let him try it out for a while anyway.
I didn’t expect him piling cars on top of each other to be anything truly deep or valuable, but it made me realize that after a few failed attempts I could either
A) Help him out and balance the cars myself for him or
B) Turn it into something teachable
As the cars kept toppling over, I encouraged him to keep trying. Whenever it would fall and he would look sad and frustrated, it unexpectedly took me to this teaching opportunity – to teach him that it’s okay to fail and that things can change if you keep trying – even though I really just wanted to resolve the problem and ease his stress.
Trust me, there was more than one instance where I wanted to just balance the cars for him, but I resisted over and over again. Instead, I would try it out, show him it was possible, then had him try himself.
He almost gave up, but I made sure he understood he could do it. Then, guess what?
We live in a world that is obsessed with instant gratification, and it’s been a concern of mine for my children ever since Dominic showed up. I realize that balancing cars isn’t anything revolutionary, but I want him to realize that true gratification comes from hard work and persistence. I want him to realize that instant gratification is nice, but working hard towards long-term goals is even better. You can get the $50 right now, or you can get the $5000 in 3 months. I also want him to realize he doesn’t need my help with everything, but I want him to know that I will always, always be his cheerleader. By letting him experience the frustration from trying to achieve his goal at this young age of learning, I hope the lesson of persistence continues to roll into similar experiences as he gets older. What I know I’ll need as a mother is the patience and the wisdom to know when a moment is truly teachable.
To new challenges…
Do you do the same in your home? What do you do to help make sure your child doesn’t settle for instant gratification?