The circus is in town at the moment and as I drove past I had a thought about training our children. I was thinking about the high wire walkers and how much training must go into that type of skill. I don’t know, but I doubt very much that they get up on the highwire without training. I imagine the training starts a little off the ground, maybe on a balance beam, and then as they progress they get a little higher and a little higher. They get to a height and it becomes wise to have a net just in case. Everything is done to support and encourage that person as they learn new skills.
The idea of training needs to take hold of our parenting mindset. It may be a completely new paradigm for us – we may be more used to the idea of parents telling the kids what to do – instead training is more about showing, teaching, guiding, practicing, correcting, and doing it all over again! Training is about getting in there with your kids doing stuff together, whereas telling is more a picture of receiving instructions and being on your own to carry that out. Training is relational, telling is authoritative.
Telling suits us as adults – we can continue with our own activities and just tell the kids what to do – training means getting involved in whatever the kids are doing, and being focused on that.
Just yesterday I had such an opportunity. Daniel wanted to work on his sewing project. He is making a black cape. While I was telling him what to do he kept coming back at me with mistakes and I was getting frustrated because he was interrupting what I wanted to do. Bells ringing!! I got up from my computer, went into the sewing machine and showed him what to do, stood by him till I knew he got it, and we had no more mistakes. I changed from telling to training and the results were there for all to see.
Telling versus Training – which model to you use?