I consider myself a life-long learner. I love learning and trying new things. And so do most kids when given the freedom to expand independently, a privilege we adults often take for granted. But there is a difference between learning and being told, knowing and understanding.
While knowing implies understanding, the two words are not necessarily mutual.
I know I shouldn’t disassemble a battery. After all, I’ve been told. But I don’t reallyunderstand why.
And a lack of understanding in an interested person inevitably leads to investigation.
What My Disassembled Battery Tells Me About Parenting
We can inform our children of potential dangers until we’re blue in the face. We can tell them to quiet down when someone is sleeping. We can insist they not live in squalor.
But until they understand it for themselves, we’re likely just stoking their curiosity in the very thing we wish they’d avoid.
Without understanding they’ll be wanting to try swimming alone, wondering just how loud they have to be to wake the neighborhood or just how many insects can live under a pile of dirty socks.
Children have a desire to do well. But they can also only do as well as the tools they possess, and understanding is a mighty big tool. It’s often too big for many kids to grasp.
This is not an excuse to force them to understand something you feel is valuable.
After all, telling them repeatedly something they don’t understand, nor have a desire to understand, does not lead to real understanding. It leads to knowing. (And I may know E=MC2 but I’ll give you one guess as to whether or not I understand it.)
There once was a woman who woke up, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'I think I'll braid my hair today.'
So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
'Hmm,' she said, 'I think I'll part my hair down the middle today.'
So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
'Well,' she said, 'today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail.'
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and found she didn’t have a single hair on her head.
'YAY!' she exclaimed, 'I don't have to fix my hair today!'
Inspiring look at life via Amazing Women Rock