Have you ever watched your kids play? Just sat in silence and observed what goes on?
Have you driven your car with your children and their friends and just listened, observing the interaction between them?
This is where, in my opinion, our own adult learning takes place. How else can we really learn about our children and their abilities and interests if we don’t actually observe them in action? How can we honor their strengths if we do not give ourselves the opportunity to notice them?
As I sit by the pool today, I am observing children at play. These are not my children or even my grandchildren. They are someone else’s kids. While I watch the interaction, I listen to them play. I find myself smiling as I notice their interaction, seeing creativity and problem-solving skills come to life. I am also noticing that the parents of these kids are creating this marvelous opportunity and space, allowing their children to navigate the discussion, the play, and the conflict themselves. What a beautiful gift.
What I am observing is the children collaborating in their play. One will take the lead and help the others see it her way, and then in the next game, one of the boys has taken the lead. Each time, they are all attentive and listening as they discuss the rules. They are discussing who is “it”, who’s turn it is to go first, and who just won the race across the pool.
As we probably remember from our own childhood, children like to recreate or reinvent games with a new set of rules. I love the ingenuity of the play.
This is where we, as adults, learn. I do not know these children, but as I watch from the sidelines, I believe that I can name some of their strengths and gifts and how they are using them in this world, or at least by the pool.
I encourage or perhaps challenge you to step back this week and watch. How do your kids interact? What are their strengths? How do they navigate play? This is where they grow, and we learn. When we take the time to do this, we can honor what we see in our children.
If you would like to listen to this in audio form, here it is: