Sunday, December 20, 2009

Things I've Learned From My Son

Some people might think that homeschoolers teach their kids at home, and that's why we keep them here. Well, that's not entirely true. Sure, I might teach my son how to do math, or how to find out more info about his favorite planet, or we might read stories together. But truly, the learning goes both ways. Take this, for example:

My son has discovered video games. The only thing we have is the original Play Station game, and a few disks, including his favorite, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage. The other day, I sat on the couch and was watching him play. Every two seconds, I was cringing and saying, "Be careful! No, don't do that, you're going to die!" And, "You'd better get more butterflies so you can earn more lives..." There was this big monster, and he was shooting fireballs, and the little dragon couldn't move fast enough... and... and... and... DOH sure enough, Spyro bit it. Not only that, but it was his last life, and the screen was filled with the message "GAME OVER."

Then I looked at my son. He LAUGHED! And then he just pushed a button and started the game all over again, and continued on as happily as ever. All I could think of were all those times I had played that same game, and all the times I died and became so frustrated and stressed out. And yes, I knew how silly it was to get so frustrated over a game, something that didn't really exist, but there it was. I admired my son for his good attitude, and for keeping the good spirit of the game.

Fast forward to the other morning. I've been working on a present for my mom, a homemade something. And I was pulling my hair out and cursing at my sewing machine, and announced that the thing was just physically impossible. I threw in the towel, tossed the thing on the ironing board and sat down to watch Little House on the Prairie. On which, might I add, I saw the very item I was attempting to make and said to myself, "Look at that, Ma could make it, and she didn't even have a sewing machine!!"

Then I remembered... The Chief, who is SEVEN, who has the attention span of an ant, who should be the one to get frustrated by things, just accepted the fact that he had to start over again at his game. It was just the nature of the beast. He wasn't good at it, he didn't get it right, so he just kept on trying until he DID get it right. He was so Zen about the whole thing. I suddenly felt kind of foolish. This was the last gift I had to make, and I still had several days to do it. I had nothing really better to do (I got a head start this year on Christmas, yay!). Why was I getting so frustrated? Furthermore, what sort of example was I setting for the Chief? That you just quit when something gets too hard? No way. So I picked that thing up, and just picked it apart and started over. I tried things a few different ways, and gosh darn it, I did it! It's not perfect, by all means, but it was the first thing of that sort I had ever tried to sew, and I did better than other people might have. I did a lot better than if I had just decided to quit!

So thanks, Chief, for that lesson.