Teacher and coach

Sometimes you just need a little help

I find myself intrigued by the number of times in just the past few weeks in which I’ve noticed the Maker become interested in some book or task or project, pursue it for a few minutes, and then quietly abandon it.  Some of these projects have been suggested to him by me or his mom, and some he has come up with on his own, but they have all been things in which it appeared that his interest waned when some part of the project turned out to be more difficult than he expected.

In several of these instances, after I noticed that he had abandoned something that I thought he was interested in, I asked him if there was anything I could do to help.  At first I thought that he would say something along the lines of, “Yeah, how about if you do it all for me,” but he never did.  Instead, he (or sometimes I) would pinpoint one specific thing that he wanted help with, and if I’d do that one thing then he would do the rest.

Here are a few examples:

  1. He was doing an exercise in one of his piano books where you write the name of different notes in blanks under the notes and they spell out words; then you write the words in the blanks of a story on the next page to complete the story.  I asked if he needed any help, and he said he just didn’t know the names of the notes very well.  So I suggested that he just fill in the ones for the treble clef lines first (since I knew he knew these the best), and he did.  Then I suggested he fill in the ones for the treble clef spaces next, and so on.  Pretty soon he was back on track and finished the rest of it himself.
  2. He had recently finished reading the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles (detailed in this post) but had not yet started on the second book.  I asked if he wanted me to read some of the second book to him, and after I read the first chapter to him, he started in on the second chapter by himself.
  3. He was filling in the blanks of a catalog order form for Halloween stuff (detailed in this post) but found all the writing to be too onerous.  When I asked if I could help, he asked if I’d write in the item number and description for each item and he’d write in the rest.

I find all of this particularly encouraging, because it indicates that the Maker is not necessarily opposed to hard work (although that sometimes happens as well), but that sometimes larger projects just feel overwhelming.  With just a little bit of help, he’s able to finish it himself.

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