You bring your defenseless baby back home. The smell, the smiles, the noise, and the excitement makes up for the long sleepless nights! And in a blink of an eye your little one transforms into an active toddler, then a persistent preschooler, and ends up becoming a challenging teenager.
Some of us enjoy the experience so much that we try it again and again just to realize that it doesn’t get easier.
My First Time As A Parent
My first time around we welcomed a world conqueror. He was a strategist since he learned how to draw. He had a fascination for maps, and really enjoyed designing and conquering imaginary cities.
He challenged me to learn many facts that I would quickly forget after reading them the first time.
With time, it became a little frustrating to actually loose every single trivia question to your child, making you feel like a participant of the show, “Am I Smarter Than a 3rd Grader?”
But despite his obvious interests, I also wanted him to get involved in sports, which he didn’t actually enjoy.
The Second Time I Thought I Was Prepared
The second time around I thought I had it all figured out. I was prepared. I had even memorized many capitals by then!
Just in time to realize that this time I was raising a ballerina! And to make things more complicated, she was a speller and she could talk – a lot!
She was athletic, disciplined, and persistent!
Then I realized that I was given the responsibility to raise an athlete and I couldn’t even get myself to the gym!
Right after learning how to walk she learned how to do pirouettes. She had another type of intelligence. To my surprise again I was challenged to learn new skills.
And like my son, she was challenged to take music classes that she didn’t really enjoy.
But right before she could make me dizzy with her turns, I had an epiphany: Am I trying to fulfill all my unaccomplished dreams of becoming a famous cellist or an athlete through my children?
The Beginning of Raising an Innovative Mind
Thats when the fun began! Acknowledging your childs strengths and interests is the beginning of raising an innovative little mind.
In my career as an educator I discovered that new babies are getting smarter, their interests more sophisticated, the questions are getting harder, and they are more tech savvy!
The reality is that there is no way we will keep up if we don’t go back to basics. We are raising children that will have careers that don’t even exist, spell words that are not yet in the dictionary, and have challenges to solve problems we don’t even have yet.
So what can we do to raise our little ones to reach their full potential?
One good thing about getting older is that you also become a little wiser, at least in what relates to raising and educating children. In that moment you realize you don’t have to be a speller, a national geographic guru, a sports coach, a dance mom, or a math wizard!
There is just one thing you have to do to allow them to unleash their creativity – Treat them as competent thinkers and build their confidence by allowing them to develop their own interests!
It’s OK Not To Have All The Answers
And right after, come to peace with the fact that it’s OK not to have all the answers!
So next time your child asks something you cant answer, learn a very helpful skill that I practice on a regular basis”I don’t know the answer; why don’t we research this further.
When you change the mindset you become a co-researcher in the learning process and you are ready to raise an innovative little mind.
As for my children, they ended up being really amazing despite my rookie mistakes and they are a source of great stories!
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By Marnie Forestieri