This weekend, my family attended a function that was outdoors with a lot of large rocks that were to be used for seating. My son, Jack, decided that he was going to stand on the rock instead. Instantly, when I noticed that Jack was trying to climb the rock, I tried to lift Jack up so it would be easier for him to stand on the rock. Jack – all of 18 months old – swatted my hand away and carefully hoisted himself up on the rock. He first knelt on the rock and then, once he got his bearings, stood up. His smile was so large, you would have thought he had climbed a mountain.
I stood there both happy for Jack and frustrated with myself. I was upset with myself because I almost robbed Jack of this moment – this purely joyous moment. Like all good parents, I wanted Jack to be safe. And he showed me he was as he climbed that rock alone.
When I return back to school, I hope I remember this lesson. For our students to truly experience the joy of learning, they have to know the struggle. They have to struggle alone. And we have to be there – ready for support, ready to keep them safe, and ready to not be needed. I hope Jack is just as happy with learning at 18 years as he is at 18 months.
Every educator needs to pledge to keep it so, make it so, for every student.