The child is never a dumping ground of knowledge. He must be a co-facilitator. The principle is very clear: in all things, tangible or intangible, never do for a child, anything a child should be able to do for himself by reason of his mental and physical development. We must also understand that their mental development in particular, will be dependent on how much time, energy and other resources, we have sacrificially invested in same.
This principle also applies to communication with children. Do not say for a child anything the child should be able to say to himself. Do not answer a child a question; the child should be able to reason out by himself.
The best we can do when we find that a child is asking a question he should be able to reason out himself is to lead the child to an answer. How do you lead the child? You ask him leading questions that will bring out the answer in him, giving adequate consideration to his physical and mental development.
We must understand that Children like to indulge themselves. It is our responsibility to love them without indulging them to the point of spoiling them. Indulging themselves means they want to have their way. When it comes to that it is always a battle of will, which the child must not win often. Informed parents labour to create a balance here, that is, not to damage the will of the child and at the same time to train his will to respect order. The challenge, I have seen is that parents and other custodians make much effort in the foregoing area but do not extend it to communication with children. If he has his way in communication, he will have his ways in other things. It does not make sense to indulge him in communication and claim to be strictly in other areas.
How do we indulge the child in communication? Ignorantly, when we answer all the questions we should lead him to answer; when we say for him what he should be able to say for himself or what we should coach him to say for himself; when we pass instructions to him as if he is not a reasoning being and spell out everything and leave no room for some pleasant puzzles. And if we manage to give room for puzzles, we are more than willing to reel out the answer at one attempt by the child. We will not reason with him.
The mind of the child needs to be developed and communication is a tool, I mean skilful communication by the custodians of the mind of the child. That is why we should expose our children to games like crossword puzzle. An expert submits, ‘critical decision making should not only be left to adults. Children should also be taught to make critical choices and decisions in the nick of time. Sometimes, this does not happen and when the occasion arises, a child may be found wanting in this area. Instilling the discipline of critical decision-making is essential to a child’s survival. Crossword puzzles can resolve this easily.’
When we lead of children to reason and find answers to their own questions, we teach them to bring out the best in themselves, even when they did not know it is there. It becomes a template for them in life that there are always more in them than they can see and this helps them to task themselves in everything they do. Also, through this process we teach our children to own their thoughts. When they own their thought, it helps them to think originally and their creative ability is set in full and unstoppable motion. When they own their thoughts, it also has direct and positive impact on their self-esteem and their self-esteem has direct impact on their self-confidence and their self-confidence has direct impact on their performance and their performance has direct impact on their destiny in life.
Socrates remains one of the greatest teachers, who ever lived. His method of imparting knowledge, which is today known as Socratic Method is summed up thus: ‘is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.’ If we must help our children, we must resign from loving the sound of our voice and give our children spacious rooms to bring out what God deposited in them.
I must tell you, our children were not born empty, as philosophers have told us before now. The good news is that they are born loaded. It is our responsibility, however to bring out the deposit, first to their knowledge and they will in turn bring it to the whole world to see, applaud and reward.
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE. Have an INSPIRED day.
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