I teach adults at a technical college. I also teach two future adults. I remind myself of that fact every day, the fact that I am working with future adults. What abilities do I want my children to posess? Do they need to know Organic Chemistry? I think I would rather have them know the struggle of learning Organic Chemistry, Physics, poetry, or our current dilemma, handwriting.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself that the struggles that my children and I are sharing together are more important than the actual outcomes.
Today, my eight year old son had an absolute meltdown about subtraction. He yelled at me, saying that I would not help him because I would not write the numbers down for him in nice, neat rows. He got mad because I wouldn't enable him. That is what I have to remember. I told him directly that I am helping him by letting him do things for himself. I hope that some time very soon he will believe me.
I don't think we let our children (safely) struggle enough. I see the results of enabling with the adults with whom I work as well. They start doing math, or writing, whatever, and they throw their hands up and say, "This is hard!" Yup. That's why it's worthwhile.
I remember my dad answering my 'When am I ever going to use this!?!' question in regards to Geometry with a "You probably won't, but it's more important that you see how you work when something is difficult. What do you do when you meet a challenge?" I bought it back then, and I still do.
I had the pleasure of teaching high school for six years. When I see those "kids" now, it's the ones that I challenged, and they might have bucked me, that say 'thank you' now. The adults are thankful for how I helped them as teens.
I want to do that for my own children. I want them to struggle, not give up, and know how good it feels to succeed. I want them to do this so many times, that it is a normal experience for them. I want them to love a challenge, not to shy away from one.
A good teacher leads by example. I need to follow these lessons as well. I need to role model a challenge, a struggle, and I need to persevere. One way that I am doing this, for both myself and my family, is by running a half-marathon in May. Yesterday, I ran nine miles, the longest I have ever run in my life! I need to grow as a person, just as I hope my children will always want to do. I want us to love the struggle, and know how good it feels to cross the finish line, until the next race.