Baby Steps: Patience Leads to Confidence

baby-stepsBy Matthew Olinski — Let me begin by starting with this: I love being a father.

It takes up a lot of time to do it right, but it is so rewarding.  I also am really enjoying my vacation in Florida, where I am writing this right now.  I make no apologies for the incredibly great weather in Florida at the same time the temperature in Wisconsin is not so great.  With that being said, I am re-learning the value and the concept of patience.  There will be an educational turn to this as I go.

Why do I say this?  I drove to Florida with a one year old. I knew full well that we would need to make frequent stops, which is fine, because we made several scheduled stops for sightseeing anyway.  There are still the times when the one year old doesn’t understand that we can’t stop the car right then and there on the highway to give her the toy back that she just tossed onto the seat next to her.

I am also looking at my patience with my one year old daughter as she tries to gain confidence to walk.  She can walk just fine when she is holding on to my hand. She can stand up without any support.  As soon as I let go of her hand, she instantly drops to the ground on her butt and looks at me, as if to ask why she can’t keep holding on.  I know she can walk without me, but the trick is trying to get her to have the confidence to do this.  It is a slow process, which is where the patience comes into play.

As a side note, there are times when I really like it when my daughter is holding on to my hand, such as when we are walking down the beach.  This too has re-taught me patience, as the pace we go at is that of a 1 year old’s, which is quite a bit slower than my own.  I do however, like it when she looks up at me and is very proud of walking along, because only a few weeks ago, she was not confident to take any steps at all.

The educational point to these stories is this: I need to find a way to instill the confidence into my students to take chances on concepts they may not be comfortable with as well.  As an administrator of a school (which at some point in time I might be), I need to instill confidence into the staff members to try new teaching principles that they might not be comfortable with either.  And both of these require patience with the audience.  If patience is not shown, they may get frustrated and not try to accomplish these tasks.

And as I am guiding my students along on the path, I am reminded that although I might already know the answer to the question I am looking for, they do not yet, so I need to go at a pace in which they can learn the material as well.  For some students, this may take a little longer than others.  Eventually, they will figuratively let go of my hand as well and be walking on their own with all of their newfound skills and knowledge.

And on that note, it is time to go hit the beach again, with my 1 year old daughter in tow, and as a final teaching situation, with a lot of sun screen applied! We need ot go practice our walking in the sand.

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