Recently my ten-year-old granddaughter Sydney was preparing a presentation for her school class, and she asked her father—my son Mike—to listen to it. This is a remarkably genuine demonstration of a child trusting a parent—to both love and teach. Sometimes we need to pause and consider why our children DON’T ask for more such interactions.
Immediately Mike set aside what he was doing to listen. Being a professional writer and presenter in an academic setting, Mike was particularly suited to the task, but mostly he described what she said and did that would be effective for her audience. Yes, Sydney made some inevitable human mistakes, but those were small, and the point of the exercise she’d been assigned was to gain a facility in public speaking, not to perfectly outline the details of a particular subject.
Figuratively, Mike recognized that Sydney was learning to sing, and she was learning it well. She was confident but also teachable enough to create a useful, lifetime skill, and the accuracy of the individual notes was not important.
In part as a result of his efforts, Sydney fulfilled her assignment well in front of the class, and—more importantly—she will be self-motivated to continue her learning curve upward.
As both teachers and students we could benefit from hearing about the interaction between daughter and father. As students we can listen better, and as teachers we can be more sensitive to those we loveandteach.
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