This concept is one that really hits home for me, now that I have a better grasp on child development and their learning process. We can't always assume that each child is going to learn the same way, understand even your simplest of tasks the same as their peers, or be able to move forward in life at the same pace. Even a task like finding and putting on our shoes seems so mindless to us as adults, but is a big process that we may have to guide our children through, teaching them the steps along the way.
I have been the "slow learner" this quote references on more than one occasion I am sure.
I'll be honest here: I don't want obedient children. That's right, I don't. I want children who can think logically and critically about the world around them, come to their own conclusions, and problem solve when I'm not there. When we think of children as behaving badly, we jump to a punishment scenario. But this doesn't demonstrate the competence level in children. I truly believe that the children who can, will. And those who can't, are lacking the skills and abilities to do so. If we flip that thinking, we can help them to develop the skills needed to thrive in life instead of raising them to be blindly obedient; only listening and acting because we have told them when to listen and how to act.
Thinking about my future goals as a child & teenager to one day become a teacher in an elementary school and I feel disconnected now. I don't feel that our school system, even with the changes in thinking and approach that seem to be making their way into the classroom today, is doing enough to promote learning in children. Although I understand the value that can come from desk work, I also understand that play, especially for younger children, is absolutely crucial for their learning and development. It should be at the heart of what they do. Arguably until at least grade 1.
After reading "The Explosive Child" by Dr. Ross Greene, it had opened quite a lot of thoughts that hadn't existed before. I finally saw the link between what Allana was teaching, and what Dr. Greene had developed; almost like she designed it that way ;)
His mantra that "Kids do well if they can" really resonates because it strips the belief that Plan A parenting (punishment/reward) is a truly effective form of child-rearing. When we build their skills, we eliminate the challenging behaviours that come along with their unsolved problems.
We teach them how to use a fork, and tie their shoes, and spell their name, but when it boils down to teaching them how to act, we EXPECT compliance and good behaviour. It doesn't work like that. Misbehaviour in children boils down to these 2 simple questions. And no, "how to behave" is not what they don't know how to do. Take it deeper than that. Break down each scenario and figure out what they are incapable of doing/handling. Crying or screaming when they don't get their way? Emotional Control. Hitting their friends when they want a toy? Impulse Control. Recalling, locating, and putting on their shoes? Planning & Prioritizing/Task Initiation. There are problems beneath the surface here. We just have to identify them so we can work on the bigger picture and build those lagging skills up.