Once upon a time, a father took his five year old son out on the lake to catch some fish. It was a beautiful day and the father was delighted to have some one-to-one time with his son – that is, until young Bobby – out of nowhere – suddenly asked THE QUESTION: “Daddy, where did I come from?”
The father looked around. Here he was in the middle of the lake with no hope of assistance. The responsibility of this delicate conversation was on his shoulders, and his alone. Was he up to the task?
While taking a few grounding breaths, he scanned his brain for memories of this important conversation with his own dad. (He had been at least 15 then, right? Certainly not FIVE!)
Well son, it’s like this: imagine the birds and the bees…….and then……umm, well, then they do this….. and….uh…. without that.……..and so forth and so on, until he felt the explanation was complete. Whew!
“So son, that’s about it. Do you have any questions?”
“No, not really. I was just wondering if it was Ohio or Illinois.”
The moral of story: Be sure you understand the question before giving an answer!
I learned this the hard way the other night when I launched my Homeschooling 4 Parents program by visiting the home of a young couple I know.
When I first walked through the door, I couldn’t imagine why they wanted help with their parenting skills! The house was spotless and well-organized, their toddler was already sound asleep, and their three year old son was delightful. (They told me I should have been there thirty minutes earlier…..)
No matter – I was there and well-prepared to elucidate them on the benefits of Montessori in the home. I began by expounding on the needs and tendencies of children, the importance of order and responsibility, and the benefits of a second language for children at this age. At one point Jenn asked if I would like to see their son’s room, but I continued on with my monologue – after all, I needed to start at the beginning and create the context before addressing the practical! But a bit later, Jason asked again about suggestions for their son’s room.
It was then that I FINALLY GOT IT.
Jason and Jenn really weren’t interested in theory – at least, not yet. What they really wanted was simply the “nuts of bolts” of how to support their boys’ development.
It dawned on me what a logical, linear, sequential thinker I am! I often feel that I need to “start at the beginning” and set the stage for what is to come.
In coaching lingo, this revelation would be referred to as a “breakdown”. Breakdowns can appear as mistakes, accidents, crises, goofs – or in this case, even embarrassing moments!
Yes, it was an embarrassing moment, but one that provided me with a wonderful learning. I learned to listen more to what clients want to know rather than thrust my own agenda on them. I learned that linear thinking certainly has its place, but isn’t always appropriate!
I noticed that the way I’ve approached this blog has also been very linear: the history of Montessori, some of the basic philosophy, etc. – when maybe what people really want are simply practical ways to raise healthy, happy children and build strong families.
So, I’m putting aside the strictly linear, sequential approach for awhile, and plan to blog about whatever comes to mind. What fun! There will be Montessori philosophy woven throughout the posts, but the emphasis will usually be on the more practical and mundane aspects of family life.
So to keep this blog interesting and relevant to you, please feel free to submit your comments and ask your questions!