07 May Message from the Head of School May 6, 2020
Good Evening Friends,
When I went into school administration, the thing I missed most was teaching. Watching the TCS teachers in action with their students gives me a vicarious satisfaction, but what I really love is to teach. I wish I could come into each of your homes and do a quick lesson or two with your children. I think that, rather than teaching my usual Digital Citizenship lessons, I would prefer to let them ask questions about anything that might be on their minds. The mind of a child, when it is allowed the time to wander, is truly fascinating. Children are curious, honest, and without guile. And their questions are a window into their hearts.
What’s on your children’s minds? Go beyond the fact that they want out of the house, to see friends, to go out to eat. We all want that. Go deeper. Are they afraid of anything? Are they worried about anything? Are they feeling confident? Confused? Content? We see glimpses of their hearts when they feel comfortable to ask questions. What’s more, when children ask questions, they are in deeper thought than usual; they are reflecting, contemplating, thinking. When life is go-go-go all the time, children don’t have time for this kind of thinking, and that’s sad. But perhaps they have time now.
When we ask children our questions, it often goes sideways, because children feel put on the spot or anxious because they think there is a right answer you’re looking for. But there are ways to invite their engagement that will allow children to go to that deeper thought that is only accessible with time and presence. So maybe while you’re having sofa time or playing with Legos or even driving in the car with one of your children, you might try a few of these:
- What is the funniest thing that has happened to you during our quarantine?
- What have you learned to do while you’ve been home that you didn’t know how to do before?
- If you were a sound, what would it be?
- What do you love doing? Why do you love doing that?
- Which of your friends is the best listener?
- If you could bless our family in one way, what would it be?
- What questions do you have in your head?
The idea here is not to force your child to bare his soul to you – he’s not even sure what’s in his soul right now. The idea is to be a family that is interested in one another and spends time knowing one another. Notice that none of the questions above are yes/no questions. You might need to model a bit by thinking about what your own answers to these questions might be. You might need to insert and example or two of your answers to get them thinking a bit. But most of all, talk as little as you possibly can. Enjoy the pauses in the conversation. Lessen your agenda. Have no expectations. It’s perfectly alright if your child doesn’t want to talk at the moment. Try again later.
I think we have an opportunity here that won’t last. We’re all so worried about when we can get back to life that we might be missing the opportunities that we have while we’re all still safer-at-home. Let your love for your children and your desire to know them override any agenda you may have to preparethem right now.
Blessing upon blessing on your beautiful children,