edu180atl: marsha little 11.5.12
I recently had the following conversation with my two-year-old daughter.
Sophia: “Can you sing the fish song?”
Me: “The fish song? I don’t know the fish song. How does it go?”
Sophia (after a long silence): “But Mommy, can you sing it?”
Me: “I don’t know it, baby.”
Sophia (plaintively): “Well…Can you try? Can you figure it out?”
So I made up a fish song and sang it. You may hear it on your local radio station soon.
For the past few months, she and I have had some version of this exchange every day.
Sophia: “Can I walk down the bannister?”
Me: “No, it’s not safe.”
Sophia:“ But can I try?”
And so on.
Scary and overwhelming though her world must be, Sophia hasn’t yet stopped risking, trying, and wondering (and she thinks I should do the same). She’s collecting information, and even an unsuccessful attempt at a task is information. Repeated failure is part of the process of discovery, and she doesn’t appreciate my “saving” her from that failure, as was the case when I kept her from walking down the bannister.
Inspired by my daughter, I am working hard to throw off a few limits, take more risks, and embrace failure as vital information. As I try more, I’ll no doubt fail more, but I’ll also likely find the world a whole lot more interesting.
About the Author: Marsha Little is in her 14th year of teaching, learning, and serving at The Lovett School; she is in her third year of parenting.