‘Not giving up’ is one quality a child will need through school life and beyond.
Watching her learn to write ‘A’, I see her concentration as she writes laboriously, tongue sticking out ; then I see her pride and satisfaction when it’s done, the little tent with the two sloping lines crossing rather than meeting at the top.
How did she learn to concentrate? Surely the job of writing ‘A’ can’t be so riveting?
When I look back I realize that it started long ago. . .
- When she reached for the rattle I held out to her in her crib when she was just a few months old, and the ‘I-did-it’ smile when she grasped it.
- When she was a little older, when she crept up behind and managed to catch the tail of the battery-operated toy dog that moved a few inches, stopped to bark, and moved on again.
- When she took her first hesitant steps and realized that she could get anywhere, if only she concentrated on each step.
- When she learnt to balance a stack of cups to make a tower; later, when she built things with Lego blocks and noticed that some of them didn’t stand, but if she added a few pieces in a certain way, they did.
- When she completed a jigsaw puzzle by keeping at it till it was done.
For the four years she did all of this I didn’t realise that she was learning to concentrate and keep at something till she got it right.
If she hadn’t learnt perseverance through these fun activities, mastering that first ‘A’ may not have held her interest. She had already learnt that the fun was in trying hard until she eventually got it. She had learnt not to give up.
As parents we need to praise our little ones for trying again and again till they get it right. Rushing them or showing disappointment that they are slow or clumsy defeats the purpose of the activity. Building blocks are for children to express their creativity and experience laws of stability firsthand, not for building perfect structures.
Anyway, it’s more fun to hear the stories behind each creation, because each is designed with a blueprint in her mind. If she says it’s a turtle, look carefully and you’re sure to see the resemblance.