Sunday, March 2, 2014

Open to Adventure

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 2

Most days, my boys are up for anything.  This morning following breakfast, I grabbed my cup of coffee and my tablet and flopped down on the couch while my boys played with their Legos to engage in one of my too often indulged in guilty pleasures...Pinterest. And what should appear on my screen? Pages of Ethiopian recipes. I still remember my first visit to an Ethiopian restaurant while staying with friends in Washington D.C.  My taste buds lit up.  So this morning, when I announced to my little Lego designers that we were headed into the city to buy some ingera and spices for an Ethiopian-inspired dinner, they gave me a quizzical look and went on playing with their Legos as if to say, "Okay, Mom. Whatever you say." An hour later, they were entertaining the young shop clerk while they begged to try the mango hard candies and samosas we also purchased. They were open to today's adventure.

My three-year-old is interested in all things edible. I'm lucky in that he'll eat nearly everything I've put in front of him (though last night's pickled herring took a little bit of convincing until my husband called it "Viking food"), but he also wants to help in the kitchen in the preparation of every meal.  So tonight as I had three pots on the stove, a mess of bowls in the sink, and a cutting board full carrots, my first inclination was to shoo him out of the kitchen so I could have dinner on the table in time.  But when he looked up with those eyes and said, "No mommy. Me help you," how could I say no?  He dragged his little chair over to the counter, climbed up, and I handed him a whisk.  And when our Ethiopian meal made it to the table, not only was he excited to be able to eat with his hands, but he was also excited to point out to his older brother and dad what he made - a salad.  He whisked the dressing and mixed it with the cucumbers and tomatoes. His eyes shone.

I need to remember to also release control of my classroom and give students more moments to shine. Having autonomy of one's learning is not just motivating, as Daniel Pink and others have pointed out.  It is empowering. I want to work with empowered students, empowered students open to adventure.
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