Category Archives: Parenting

Try Another Way

I’ve been driving more than half my life… racking up thousands and thousands of miles.  Driving and what to do in particular situations behind the wheel is just second nature.

Teaching what to do in those situations is anything but second nature to me.  I found that out when my oldest turned 14 and got her learner’s permit.  With it she can legally drive a vehicle as long as there is a licensed, adult driver in the car.

Teen driver behind the wheel

We’ve gotten along fairly well as she’s learned, but we have had our moments.  Early on, one of my biggest frustrations was her turns.  I always felt she’d take them too fast.

“Brake going into the turn,” I’d say.  “Slow down.  Take this next corner slower.”

That worked for a turn or two but then it would be back to fast turns and me grabbing the door handle.  I’d keep saying the same things over and over and keep getting the same results.  12 steppers would say that’s the definition of insanity.  They would be right.

Then, my daughter took driver’s ed.  She got both classroom instruction and time driving with an instructor.  It was the first time she had drove with someone other than my wife or I.

She aced the class and got praise from her instructor.  I was giving her praise too.  There was a definite improvement in her skills… especially turning.  I was able to let go of my death grip on the door handle. 🙂

Curiosity got the better of me.  I wondered what the instructor had said to make her turns better… so I asked.  Turns out the answer was quite simple.

She said, “The instructor told us that you shouldn’t take a corner faster than 20 miles per hour.”

I felt so stupid! That answer made perfect sense.  Give my “by the book, rule following” daughter a guideline and she’ll follow it. I wasn’t being specific.

That experience got me thinking about the differences in teaching… and learning.  What I learned was that if one way isn’t working you should reassess the situation and try another way.

Did you ever have trouble teaching someone something?

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Life Lessons From Nature

There are little life lessons we can learn everywhere.  You just have to keep your eyes open to them.  My daughters and I witnessed two great examples of such lessons on an afternoon walk this past weekend.

We were killing time between my youngest’s softball games by hanging out at the Pella town square.  It’s a pretty cool place. There’s fountains, big trees, flowers… and squirrels.

We sat on a park bench watching a squirrel collect acorns and bury them.  He was just a few feet from us.  He was focused on the task at hand… obviously preparing for the Winter.  He was working hard and saving.

squirrel-with-an-acorn

I consider myself a hard worker but the life lesson that squirrel was reminding me of is the importance of saving.   That’s something I need to do a better job at.

Towards the end of our walk my youngest spied an ant working hard dragging some sort of seed across the sidewalk.  We stopped and got down on our hands and knees to watch it for a minute.

ant-dragging-an-acorn

The difference in size between the ant and the seed it was moving struck me.  It wasn’t daunted by the task.  It was pulling something that was at least four times its’ size.

That ant was telling my daughters and me that anyone is capable of accomplishing big things… you just need to put forth the effort.

Have you ever got a life lesson from nature?

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Unexpected Jealousy

Jealousy.  It’s a something I try to avoid.  The older I get the more content I am with what I have and who I am… but every once in awhile jealousy will sneak into my brain.  When it does it’s usually unexpected.

One of those moments of unexpected jealousy cropped up tonight.  I was driving my youngest daughter and her friends to softball practice.  They were in the backseat laughing and talking about back-to-school.

Each of them did a run down of the supplies they had already gotten and what they still needed to get.  They talked about their schedules and how middle school was going to be different than 5th grade.

There was so much optimism and enthusiasm.  The only hint of concern was over lockers and if they’d have trouble working the combinations on the locks.

Artistic Master Lock Padlock

It was at this point that I realized the jealousy sneaking in.  I was jealous of these girls.  I was jealous of where they were in life. Where their only concern was being able to unlock a school locker.

They didn’t have bills to worry about… or a check engine light that just came on… or a stack of work to return to in the morning.  Nope just a locker to unlock… and to be honest, they didn’t really seem overly concerned about that.

The jealousy didn’t last long.  It was quickly replaced by pride.  Pride in how good of friends these girls are… and their positive outlook on life!

Have you ever been jealous of your kids?

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