Staying Out of the Way

One of the most challenging things for me in working with Silas on projects is staying out of his way. It's so easy to catch his enthusiasm and to want to share the experience with him so badly that I end up taking over and forcing my ideas over his, however gently or well-meaning it is that I do it. I've definitely had the experience of having my own excitement and interest in a topic being co-opted by someone else and it is so deflating and discouraging. I definitely don't want to do that to him. My job is to provide him with the tools to create, to encourage his ability when he gets stuck, and to generally just stay out of his way.

The other day Silas came up to me and said, "I have a good idea! Let's make stairs for my gnome house!" I was in the middle of something else at the moment and so directed him to find a piece of paper and a pencil and draw out his plan so that we would know how to proceed. After he did so I asked him what materials he needed. "Wood, plastic, and cotton," he answered.

We gathered these things together and it was at this point that I almost derailed the whole thing. He started arranging his materials in a way that didn't at all match what I thought stairs should look like. I kept trying to gently direct him to see stairs the way that I thought they "should" look. Luckily, I caught myself, closed my mouth, handed him the tape and let him build his stairs the way that he saw them in his mind. In doing so, he was able to maintain ownership of the project and the pride at its completion was his and his alone. As it should be.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! It's hard to keep quiet when you have a picture of what something "should" look like that doesn't align with theirs. Looks like you both did a great job :)