I just returned from Texas and a whirl wind week of time spent with my daughters, my grand kids and my son-in-law! Loved it! As we continue our path of naturally learning it is critical that we remember what Charlotte Mason shared: “A morning in which a child receives no new ideas is a morning wasted.” It is a parental responsibility to listen to our children and glean insights into their minds and imagination. For example, here is a conversation I had with my five-year-old grandson, Mason.
“Grandma, when I grow up I want to be an artist or a fireman or a scientist.”
“Those are great things to be,” I enthusiastically replied. “Which one would you like to be most?”
“I think probably a scientist.”
“A scientist, hmm, why would that be fun?”
“I just like experiments.”
Mason had just given me important information about what he was thinking. Now I could add a few ingredients and make an environment for him to “experiment.” Environments are just that easy. The next day I ran to the nearest Walmart and picked up a few groceries. I also picked up some vinegar and baking soda. This environment is easy to set up and just as easy to store back in the pantry for another day.
As we put things out on the table for our experiment, little brother, Miles, enthusiastically climbed on a nearby chair to see what was happening. He could sense Mason’s excitement. We poured each a paper plate full of baking soda and distributed a cup of colored vinegar. An eye dropper was then given as a way to drop the vinegar into the baking soda. They took it from there.
Mason chose to methodically drop the vinegar into the baking soda and got lots of little “wows” whereas Miles chose to put handfuls of baking soda into the vinegar bowl receiving a couple of really big “wows!” Both were absorbed in their own new-found ideas and both wanted another plate of baking soda! This led to a day of outside play and imagination together. Sweet, sweet!
It has been shown in study after study that the mind can think of only one thing at a time. That is why we cannot be having a conversation on the phone and listen to our children in the background. We are either thinking of one or the other. It is why, when we are talking face to face with a friend or family member we cannot be thinking of things from work or school. If we are, then sooner or later the person in our presence will know that we are not paying attention to what they are saying.
We can think of only one thing at a time! We get to choose what that thought will be. Of all the many possibilities at any given time – we choose exactly what to focus on. Minute after minute, thought after thought, idea after idea, let’s listen to our children and allow them to build a life of goodness and discovery!