Thursday, June 2, 2011

When the Training Wheels Come Off

Yesterday, my husband took the training wheels off our six-year old's bike. He rode all by himself! What an exciting time of discovery.

So many aspects of our children's learning are just like taking the training wheels off. We instruct, and sometimes we struggle to teach--maybe it seems like the lessons just aren't sinking in. I wrote a few months ago about feeling the sting of comparison that my son wasn't reading like another boy we know, who was in full-day kindergarten. But last week, all that instruction finally paid off: he's putting words together more easily and starting to recognize some by sight. It clicked practically overnight. The training wheels came off.

I think of potty-training, too. With each of my boys, it hasn't happened overnight. But as we go about faithfully training them and talking to them about it, eventually one day, it happens. It clicks. They start to use the toilet all by themselves, and all the struggles with it cease to exist.

Learning to walk and learning to talk are the same way too. We wonder when our children will hit these important milestones, and sometimes we may fret if it seems they are a bit behind. But then, almost as if it happens overnight, they're walking; they're talking.

I love the quote by Dr. Ruth Beechick that I read in Educating The WholeHearted Child about the mysterious process of how children learn. Here's what it said:
"'Modern research and theories do give various views of man and his learning, but the Bible gives the 'soul' view. And that is too important to leave out of a learning theory...Piaget, who more than anyone else worked at breaking down children's learning into bits and describing them, came to the conclusion that it is not possible to lay bits out in linear fashion for children to learn...In short, there is no scientific explanation of learning. Many people have argued that it's a fallacy to call education and psychology sciences. They are not sciences in the sense that physics is. And when they do behave like sciences, they leave out heart and soul, the most important ingredients. So it is right for our theory of learning to draw from the Bible more than from science. A Bible figure for learning is 'growth.' Growth happens all over, at the same time."'

Learning is mysterious, but it's happening all the time. The desire to learn and grow is God-given and innate. Our kids will eventually catch on to whatever it is they need to know.

So if there's some issue you're struggling with today, wondering if the light will ever turn on, be encouraged that it indeed will in due time. The training wheels will fall off. Then your child will be off and running, and you'll wonder why you ever worried so.

--Ruth Beechick, Biblical Psychology of Learning as quoted in Educating The WholeHearted Child (bold mine)

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 03, 2011

    Thanks for this. My son is having trouble learning to ride his 2 wheeler... and he'll be 12 in September. I've signed him up for a camp that teaches kids like him to ride and we have to fly a thousand miles to get to the venue! So your words are a comfort and very apt! My husband and I were just recalling the other day about my now 5 yr old daughter and the ordeal of potty training ... one day she kept having accidents constantly and every pair of shorts/underwear were soiled. I was ready to completely lose my mind ... then we discovered she was into the stash of juice boxes at our second house next door. As her stepdad said, at the time, "I'd have wet my pants, too, if I'd drunk that much juice!!!" A few days later, she was completely trained ... and I didn't have to fume over it all. One day at a time...

    They ARE learning!!! So thanks for the reminder!

    Denise in Saskatchewan