Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Teacher

There is nothing that I find more satisfying, as a parent, than seeing my children learn something new. Those first few tries of something previously impossible, their tentativeness giving way to growing confidence. Then finally, they just get it. It's pretty extraordinary to watch.

I have never been more proud of my children than the day Katie sat down and read a book to me. Reading was like that for her - stumbling and bumbling and then you could almost see the lightbulb come on and everything click.

It's a hundred small things every day. Getting shoes on the right feet. Making a sandwich without losing a finger. Sometimes it's monumental, like the reading, or riding a bike. And sometimes, it's more profound - seeing Katie become a leader among her peers, or Julia show kindness to a friend, or Henry...well, Henry's just 2. We're lucky if we get through a day without him eating boogers. Profound can wait.

Then there's all the subjects on which I am a reluctant teacher. God. Death. Love. Sex. I don't know a single parent who looks forward to answering questions from their child about sex, especially past the rudimentary 'put stick in hole, make baby' part. No one walks away from a tough conversation feeling like, 'Yes! Abortion! I really knocked that one out of the park!'. No one gives themselves a mental high five for trying to explain syphillis.

And when you have done a pretty good job, or you think you have, you end up with a kid who walks around for three months calling you a vagina. (Thanks, Julia.)

There are questions about life that I don't want to answer, because I don't know the answers. In the end, I have to make due with opionions and best guesses, and hope that they have the good sense to find the answers on their own. Which, in the end, is a lesson in itself.


  1. The challenge that comes with trying to teach children things we ourselves are uncomfortable discussing, is very understandable. I think the most important lesson for a parent to teach his or her child is helping them understand both sides of a topic, so that they can see how one end may be beneficial while the opposite end of the topic is where disadvantages occur.

    Since everything isn't as simple as "Hey son/daughter, if you play with fire, you'll get burned, so make sure that you don't touch the kitchen stove! Oh, and make sure to floss before brushing your teeth." but the best teachers lead by example.

    There is nothing more powerful than showing a child what we want him or her to learn, rather than just telling them and hoping for the best :)


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    1. Absolutely, Nicole - there is no better way to teach than by example! Thank you for reading!

  2. If you ever talk to me about syphillis (holy CRAP is that word hard to spell), I'll totally give you a high five.

    1. Stephanie, sometimes people get these little sores on their pee pee...

  3. I think learning to be comfortable with the fact that some questions have no answers is one of those things that gives us a little peace in life. Unfortunately, I have not yet reached that state of enlightenment myself. ;)