The empowering nature of teaching

I love teaching our daughter how to do things.

Zara was so excited to learn how to put jam on her toast

I want her to learn how to use that body of hers.  I want her to feel like she can do anything.  I want her to learn how to take care of herself in this world.  I want to empower her.  Teaching her empowers her and that is the most powerful thing I can do as a parent.

Today, I taught her how to put a hanger inside a shirt to hang it up. She was so proud of herself, so excited, so pleased to be a part of family life.  We were doing the laundry and instead of using the dryer for all of our clothes, we hang the shirts all up on hangers and let them dry that way.  She’s been more and more interested in doing the laundry, she hangs all of her clothes on the drying rack and today was the first day she wanted to be included in hanging up our clothes.  I was so pleased for her, so inspired to continue to teach her, to empower her to learn how to be in this world, how to teach her to respect our environment by not using the dryer, for example.

I try to use all of our outings and experiences as teaching moments, I don’t try to be annoying about it, but just as the opportunities come up, we talk about it, to include her and to teach her.  Here’s what I mean: we went out for supper the other night and we wrapped up all the napkins and food scraps into the paper table cloth they put on the table for us to draw on and we brought it home to the compost bin.  I would have been too shy to do this in the past, but we have a city program for it, so I may as well bring it home instead of letting it go to the dump just because restaurants aren’t included in the composting program.  I thought it was great, it made me feel great, it gave us a chance to explain composting again and the difference between composting and garbage dumps for mother earth.  And maybe because I wasn’t embarrassed about it and because the waitress thought it was really cool, maybe Zara will do the same, maybe she’ll show others to do that too.

The other day, she had been eating pretzels, and they’re awesome because they’re in the shape of letters so she loves learning how to spell words (thanks Loblaws!), and there were lots of crumbs on the table.  I saw her brush them all off the table. I went over and I said, “We could just sweep them up with the dustpan and broom (she LOVES to do this!!), or you could make a little dustpan with your hand and sweep them into your hand right off the table and then put them in the compost bin or the sink.”  I showed her what I meant and no friggin joke, the next day, there were crumbs on the table and I saw her start to put them on the floor and then she stopped and make the hand dustpan. Holy moly.  Simple, eh?  I think we could all do this a bit more, with everything!!  We would be constantly teaching each other, including one another, instead of living isolated lives.

Zara also loves cleaning with us.  She loves to clean the bathtub and the toilets. I hope this lasts!  Tee hee, at least she’s learning how to do it, so she’ll know for when she leaves the house and it keeps her engaged and teaches her about how to care for a home.  And she’s teaching me so much too, empowering me, pushing me to be me, instead of the limited me I always thought I was.  This summer, she wanted to walk on the grass down the street (we don’t have sidewalks) and for some reason, there was this part of me that was nervous about walking on other people’s grass….I felt it and didn’t want to teach her that, it’s all part of the planet, it’s just grass, why can’t we walk on the grass!?!!  She felt it too and she kept saying, “Mommy, come with me,” and eventually I did, and I’ve been free ever since.  Now we run up to the neighbors trees, run around them and we go for it.  I hope our neighbors start to do it too.  No one has ever said anything and I’m not sure they ever will, they may just admire our freedom, the freedom that comes from empowering oneself, pushing past limits and teaching about life.  I love living with Zara, teaching her, learning from her and being in the love with her and Robbin.  May our love continue to grow and may I continue to be open to teaching her and learning from her.

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