DSM: Re: Amanda: YOU did it ! !

From: David Rovner (rovners@netvision.net.il)
Date: Tue Jun 12 2001 - 13:10:47 EDT


Amanda,
You did it ! !
(Tuviste exito ! !)
David

---------- Original Message ----------

>From: "Amanda Phillips" <amanda42@hotmail.com>
>To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
>Date: Sat, 09 Jun 2001 15:59:34 -0400
>Subject: DSM: Sudbury in the home

>Here's something I wrote in my journal recently about my 5-year old, who
>happens to have only one hand and limited visual acuity. Although I wrote
>this about parenting, it applies equally well to the Sudbury philosophy.

>-Amanda

>5/26/01 - How to Raise An Independent One-Handed Kid...

>The biggest challenge of parenting is getting out of your kid's way. Really.
>Even when Elaine shows interest in doing something for herself, my natural
>instinct is to just do it for her. I can do it better, faster, and more
>efficiently myself. And I started out doing everything for her the day she
>was born, so it is an ingrained habit. And because she only has one hand, I
>want to help her even more. But of course, if I go with my natural instinct
>and do everything for her, she'll never learn to do anything for herself.

>So I temper that instinct, and anytime she asks to do something herself, I
>take a step back, give her some pointers where necessary, and watch as she
>clumsily accomplishes some task that I could have done for her in a fraction
>of the time it took her.

>It started when she was little with things like getting dressed. One day she
>wanted to put on all her clothes by herself, a task that took me about 5
>minutes to do for her. It took Elaine about 30 minutes when she first
>started. Imagine what that did to my mornings! But if it took more time to
>let her do her own thing, I woke up earlier. She got faster and more
>competent, and gained some self-confidence to boot. After a few months of
>this, she was dressing herself in 5 minutes.

>So it goes with everything else she decides she wants to do. At first they
>were all things that were easily accomplished one-handed. (She hasn't asked
>me how to play the violin yet...) Lately, they are getting more complicated.

>Today, she decided she wanted to open her can of tomato soup herself. (So
>far all she has learned to do is pour the soup and water into the pan, turn
>the burner on and off, and stir and ladle the soup.) I said, "OK, sure. All
>you need to do is put the blade on the edge of the can like this, push the
>handles closed so the blade cuts into the edge of the can, and then you..."
>Ooh. How the heck do you do this with one hand? You have to grip the handle
>of the can opener and hold it closed, and you also need to turn the little
>rotating lever around in circles. Both actions require opposable thumbs. Or
>do they?

>So I explained to Elaine what she needed to do, and she immediately saw a
>solution. She gripped the handle with her good right hand. And she (slowly,
>painfully) pushed the little rotating lever around with her stump. It was
>too amazing to describe; something you had to see. The can opener slipped
>off the can about 4 times, but she stuck it back on and kept going. So there
>she was, determined to do it herself, not once giving up or asking for help.
>When she got all the way around the can after exerting much effort, she
>grinned at me proudly and said, "I did it!"

>And that's all effective parenting is: getting out of their way and allowing
>them as many opportunities as possible to grin at you and say, "I did it!"

>_________________________________________________________________
>This mailing list is archived at http://www.sudval.org/~sdg/archives

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