Sunday, July 14, 2013

Seeing the REAL Child

When I was growing up, I faced situations where I was unsure how to behave or act.  I questioned how to be a friend to someone or make a good impression.  Being a child of the 1960s and 70s, my parents would say, "Just be yourself."

I would think, "Just who is myself?"

There was the IDEAL me.  The one that longed to live up to the expectations of parents, relatives, teachers, and friends.  She was a good girl, kind, helpful, diligent, and considerate.

There was the SECRET me.  The one I wanted to be; popular, funny, pretty, talented, and one who always knew the right thing to say.

But who was the REAL me?  I am learning that children, like seeds, contain all their potential at birth.  Well intentioned adults put their expectations on the children they love.  Educators put expectations on the children in their care.  Often this confuses the child.  Am I me or am I someone's idea of me?

As an educator, I am rethinking how I respond to children.  Children learn naturally.  I do not want to get in the way of the developing potential of the child.  If I am the REAL me and respond the the REAL child, then I must give the child space and time to make connections with the world around him or her.

I guess the REAL me must live up to my own potential and my own expectations.  We must all be free to decide who the REAL person inside of us is.
Our experiences are what feeds our potential.  Do you know the REAL you?

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