Thursday, August 26, 2010

1. Avoid Discouragement Revisited

Just a day or so after I posted about my work on avoiding discouragement we were going to go on a family walk after dinner.  The twins wanted to pull their sleds (yes, snow sleds) to the local hill and ride down it.  Plastic sleds on sidewalks and asphalt are loud and dragging them along scraping the bottom wears them out fairly quickly.  So, I at first said no, we should leave the sleds home.  I said they wouldn't go down the grassy hill very well.  But I didn't resist fervently.  Then I backed off a bit more because I really didn't care that much, I thought it was more of an annoyance.  I told Twin M that he should ask his mother, who has more sensitive ears than I do.

She initially said no and offered to take the boys and the sleds to the hill in the morning after breakfast.  That was the beginning of a meltdown.  I thought a bit more about it and realized it really didn't matter much.  Sure, it would be a bit noisy, but that's about it.  As long as the twins were willing to take the sleds the whole way, there and back, why not?  So, my significant other with sensitive ears and I agreed.  The twins were happy and off we went.

Despite the small annoyance of sleds occasionally hitting our legs, the walk was fine.  We got some curious looks from neighbors, but given the other oddities of our family, I suspect they weren't surprised.  When we got to the hill, the twins sat on their sleds and asked for a push.  I did what I could and was surprised at how well the sleds slid down the grass.  It wasn't great.  They stopped about 3/4 of the way down the hill, but the twins loved it.  They loved it.  Fun and hilarity ensued.  They tried lying on their sleds as well as standing on them.  They even let little E. ride with them.

The outing was an amazing success.

And all of this goes back to my original discouragement and the changing of my mind.  I discouraged them because I didn't want to be inconvenienced with the noise and potential pulling of the sleds.  I didn't want to have to argue about pulling them down the sidewalk in the sled or who-knows-what.  As a member of the family and a participant in the walk, my opinion does matter.  If it was going to be too big of an inconvenience, then no still would have been an acceptable answer.  But it wasn't going to be too big of an inconvenience and all three boys had a great time.  Avoiding discouragement is a learning process and I think we (I) do it all the time every day. I hope to do less of it so my boys will be able to explore and learn for themselves and so they can have more times like last night.

p.s. Even at the hill I had a small moment of discouragement.  Twin J was standing on his sled trying to get it to start down the hill.  He was on the flat part of the hill, so his sled was sliding nowhere.  I told him he should move to the hill so he could slide down, which he did.  Twin J is pretty bright, and I'm sure if I had said nothing, he would have learned that for himself and he would have moved his sled.  Sure, this wasn't much discouragement, but I need to give my boys time to figure things out for themselves.

p.p.s. Why didn't I bring the camera?

1 comment:

  1. Awww, pics would have been cute. Great story. Kids have the most inventive ideas. It's easy to see the affects of discouragement in older kids. I just read an article that said when researchers asked kindergarteners who was really good at art and music, everyone of them raised their hands. In about 6th grade through junior high age, less than half said they were, in high school only 2 or 3 were willing to say they were good at something. Good for you guys on encouraging your kids.