Friday, May 29, 2015
It was Memorial Day, a windy day, and one that my kids were beginning to drive each other crazy. After dinner, I told them to go outside to play, hoping this would top off a wonderful weekend of family time. What I didn’t realize was that my kids would once again orchestrate a beautiful moment, one of which I am still in awe.
My husband and I were cleaning up dinner, when he saw it. “Amy, you have to come here.” As I looked outside the window, I saw Gus (my middle son) holding on to Atticus (my youngest son) and the little Spider-Man bike without training wheels. While I couldn't hear a sound, I could imagine the conversation as Gus coached Atticus on the ins and outs of riding a bike without training wheels. I have to remember that it was only about a month ago that Gus mastered this same feat. Since then, Gus has been determined to help his little brother learn how to ride his bike, but I never imagined he would be Atticus's coach. The moment struck me so profoundly, that I grabbed my phone and started recording. Here is the video.
After this point, Travis and I walked outside to greet the boys and "find out" what was going on. We encountered such positivity that it was absolutely contagious. Gus was jumping around, cheering on Atticus, and despite the falls and a few tears, Atticus met every one of Gus's demands, listening, taking it all in. We took a couple more tries then went in for the night, with enough adrenaline to keep us going for days.
The boys were pumped to get home from school on Tuesday. After dinner, they were back outside again, ready to go. Atticus was not as apprehensive, because there was his coach, Coach Gus, already giving him a pep talk before his shoes were on. Coach Gus grabbed the bike and off they went. With Gus's words of encouragement and a lot of excited jumping, here is video of Day 2.
I'm still in awe, a little giddy, and so proud.
Kids have an innate desire to learn. And they want to inspire others around them to learn as well. What I witnessed was kid-centered and kid-driven. It was empowerment and positivity. Leadership and problem-solving. If I intervened, it would have absolutely ruined the moment, the momentum, and the desire. Gus ran the show, he had the stage, and he believed so whole-heartedly in his quest that nothing was going to stop him. And Atticus believed and trusted his older brother to guide him and be there for him. It still takes my breath away.
It is so hard to take a back seat and let those moments happen. We are trained to guide and be there for our children at all moments. We are trained as educators to be the conductors and create the experiences for our students. But when those moments happen, they are magical. Allowing these moments is a gift and this gift should be treasured more often. Giving our students this freedom to delve into their passions and interests along with teaching each other is more important today than ever before. We need more moments like this to stretch our kids thinking and their creativity. We need more moments like this to instill problem-solving and leadership skills. We need moments where students are self-guided, self-motivated, self-directed, and in charge of their learning.
The videos speak for themselves, the power of empowerment and using passion to drive learning. Our kids can teach each other so many wonderful skills and feed those ideas. I can't wait to discover what they have discovered next!