I have a three-year-old, Henry, who I’m trying to teach shapes and colors.
He doesn’t make it easy.
It seems that he’s just as determined not to learn as I am to teach. We go over our shapes, and he just looks at me blankly. I point to the color pink, he tells me it’s blue. I point to the letter B, he insists it’s an A. I rack my brain to figure out how to teach Henry what he doesn’t want to learn, how to make it fun. I know he’s capable of learning, but how do I make him want to learn?
This little teaser gives me a hard time with teaching him prayer, too. When we say our mealtime prayers, he twirls around like it’s a song (even though we’re not singing). When I ask him to lead the prayer, he makes it an opportunity for a show, laughing and teasing and saying just about anything he thinks will get a reaction out of me. (Which it sometimes does, I have to admit.)
I know a big part of it is just his age, and that eventually he will grow out of it. But in the meantime, I would like some consolation to know that he is learning something. That all of my efforts are not in vain.
That little bugger
And then one day, as we’re walking through the backyard back toward the house, he surprises me out of the blue by saying, “Mom, our door is shaped like a rectangle. And the window is like a square.”
As I look at him in astonishment, he adds, “And the trampoline is like a circle.” He points to the trellis on our patio: “Those holes are shaped like diamonds.”
I grabbed him and said, “You little bugger! You’ve been holding out on me! You do know all your shapes!” He just giggled, because he got another reaction out of me.
I took advantage of the opportunity and began to ask what color was the sky, the grass, and the tree? He answered with blue, green and brown. I looked at him in exasperation and asked him why he didn’t know his colors yesterday when I was trying to teach him??
His answer was simple: “Because they weren’t blue.”
Blue is Henry’s favorite color, and therefore, all things must be blue.
Surprise! They ARE learning something!
Sometimes I forget that my kids know more than I think; sometimes they hold out on me on what they already know. Maybe it’s because they aren’t in the mood to share what they’ve learned, or maybe it is simply because their favorite color wasn’t part of the answer. Maybe it’s just part of their youthful rebellion that they actually learned something they didn’t want to know—and are not ready to admit.
The other day, Henry and his five-year-old sister, Anna, were playing “house.” Anna was the Mommy and Henry was the Daddy. After setting their pretend food on the pretend tables, they folded their hands and proceeded to pray the blessing over their food. No twirling or silly antics. Just very respectful with all the appropriate words. And then they ate their food, not realizing I was watching in amazement.
Those little buggers.
I see how it is. I’ve got this now. Now I know what they know, but they don’t know that I know. It’s fine, we can pretend we aren’t learning. Just as long as I know that they know.