This post has such a significant meaning to me and I hope that by the end, the message and lesson comes across. I was 19 when I learned that I would become a mother and 20 when my daughter was born. As an unmarried college dropout, life was difficult and would have been impossible without my family there to support me. Obviously, I did return back to college but not without my share of struggles along the way. One of those was being a mother…my primary role.
In a matter of days, I will take my daughter to college. I don’t think that it’s really hit me until now that I have to let her go and experience life without my presence. I’ve made a point this year to pull back gradually. I gave her freedom to make mistakes and room to reflect. It was easier to do since I was no longer a few hallways away in the same school. That doesn’t mean that it was easy, but it was necessary. One of these days, she’ll understand and part of me feels that she does.
I have to know that I’ve prepared her as best that I could. My pulling away has hopefully empowered her to think for herself. If she needs me, I’m only a text, tweet, facebook, Google Hangout, skype, glide or facetime away. If she needs access to information, I can honestly say that she knows how to find it. Technology will help in that aspect. Still, it’s the letting go that’s tough.
I think that I get where some teachers have difficulty doing this in their classrooms…letting go. We have to though. When we let go, that’s when kids figure things out and become empowered to rise to the occasion. That’s what life is about and that is what our goals must be.
Gone are the days where hovering over our learners is “in”. Even as I typed that sentence, I have to wonder if hovering was ever “in”. The greatest thinkers in life weren’t the ones who had their thoughts or directions handed to them but the ones that formulated their own paths.
As I let my daughter go, I will do it knowing that her path will be guided by her thoughts and ideas. She’ll figure out how to be the best of herself and establish where and how she can lend her genius to the world without my guiding hand. She’ll do this because that is eventually what happens when those of us with control learn to let go.
As you head into your classrooms. Think of the processes that you can hand over to your kids. Allow them to formulate their path to learning. Do this knowing that they may not be successful and if the time comes that failure happens, help them to understand the power of getting up and continuing. This is when they will find out who they are in the world.
This post is part therapy and part instructional. If there is any lesson at all, it is that we teach through our actions just as much as our inactions…not that inactions are always bad. Find moments this year where you can step back and watch what kids do with the freedom that you give. Don’t be surprised when they surprise you.
I’ll do my best to remember these thoughts as well.