Sunday, May 16, 2010

Learning from the questions we ask.

Sometimes the questions people ask give insight into their perspective, priorities, and society's influence. How do I make my child clean up her room? How do I motivate my child to do homework? What's an appropriate reward for good grades?

Those are random questions that came to mind, but they seem like a good starting place. I'll give my answers to these questions, and perhaps my answers will give you insight into my perspective, priorities, and society's influence.

Q. How do I make my child clean up her room?
A. Does your child want a clean room? Why is it important to you that she have a clean room? Are you willing to clean your child's room for her? Would she welcome that? Is your child having a clean room more important to you than having a peaceful home? More important than your child? Than your relationship with your child? What are you afraid will happen if your child doesn't clean up her room? Do you really think that's true? Why? Is your room clean?

Q. How do I motivate my child to do homework?
A. Why is it your job to motivate your child to do work that comes home from school? Is the homework necessary? Why? What will happen if your child doesn't do the homework? Is that so terrible? Is the homework appropriate to your child? Is it too easy and unnecessary or too hard and creating frustration? Is the homework supporting your child's love of learning? Is the homework helping your child feel good about himself? Does motivating your child to do homework help you feel positive about your child? Is homework taking up time that the child would prefer to be using in a different way that better meets her needs? Is taking on the job of homework enforcer creating more joy in your relationship w/ your child? What would happen if you told the teacher that you will no longer be requiring your child to do homework because you feel that time at home is family time? Are you sure?

Q. What's an appropriate reward for good grades?
A. Why do you need to reward good grades? Aren't grades already the reward for completing the required work or passing the test? Do you feel that the grades have greater value than the learning that was supposed to be taking place? Why are good grades important? If a child has no interest in a subject, but memorizes the facts and passes the test is that something to reward? If a child loves a subject, and is eagerly learning about it on their own time, but does poorly on the test of the required information, is that learning not more valuable than a grade? When your child gets good grades does it make you feel good about your child? Does it make you feel good about yourself as a parent? Why? These are your child's grades, how does your child feel about them? How do your child's grades make him feel about himself? Where do those feelings come from? Are they helping him grow up to be a healthy confident person who loves learning?

While answering these questions I've realized just how far I have come in this journey of becoming the parent that I want to be. The truth is that in my life I have a new set of questions that includes: How can I bring more joy and fun into my family's life? How can I support my child as she explores the world? What do we need to do to meet everyone's needs today? Do you want whipped cream and sprinkles on that?

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