Trusting the process, trusting our children
This morning my youngest was playing a video game. He had a particularly challenging task to complete and as each attempt and strategy failed, he grew increasingly frustrated, angry and negative about his performance. After a while he quit, turned away from the research he'd been doing into it, wanted to be left alone and withdrew to watching familiar videos. From the outside he looked like he was "doing nothing", was "passive" and "wasting time".
The "old me" would have been fretting about resilience, teaching him about "never giving up" and to "keep going". The "old me" would have been trying to "gee him up", get him back "on task" and worried about his big emotions.
But in the last 5.5 years I have learned a lot. We had a quick chat about the benefits of taking a break, and I let him know that if he needed help I was there for him. What he wanted ... was to be left alone. The "new me" respected and trusted his wishes and process. I trusted that he would get to where he needed and wanted to be with it without me pushing, coercing or interfering where it clearly wasn't wanted.
We do not know what is going on in our children's minds. We can not possibly see the conscious and unconscious connections they are making i.e. their learning.
Just a few minutes ago, whilst doing something wholly unconnected to this morning's game, he suddenly said to me "I've got a new strategy, it is slow, it will take ages, but it's guaranteed to work". He explained what it was, and it is indeed an elegant solution, slow... yes, but indeed guaranteed to work.
From the outside there was no indication he was working on a solution all day. From the outside it appeared he had given up and "just watching Pokémon episodes". But inside plenty of processing was going on.
I have learned to trust the process, to trust intrinsic motivation, to trust the innate human desire to learn, to problem solve, to move forward... I've learned to trust my children.