Monday, September 7, 2009

Left to their own devices...

One of the advantages to rearing an only child is that they learn independence pretty early. For example, as I was preparing dinner the other day I peeked around the corner and watched my son practice his handwriting - completely unprompted. I love that he has a passion for learning and an obsession with grasping concepts/techniques. I can't even count how many times he has erased and re-written a word until every letter is perfect. But, I worry about his fear of failure, and I consistently try to encourage an easy-going attitude towards making mistakes. It. Is. Really. Hard. I want him to realize his potential, but I also want him to cut himself a little slack.

I think his perfectionism is the source of his love of reading. He can just understand a word in context if he doesn't know the definition. He can't get enough of it. The other night, I went to bed around 1am, and I caught him awake, reading in bed. It's hard to punish a child for being unwilling to put a book down. Especially when I am often guilty of the same thing (which is why I was headed to bed so late that night). I, obviously, explained that he could finish his book in the morning and that sleep was more important. But, I felt like a hypocrite until I justified my actions by reminding myself that he is 6.

Back to the point, my only child takes it upon himself to complete a project or perfect a skill. He can often be found counting change, writing stories, and searching Google for information on flounders without any adult encouragement. He seeks his own knowledge on his own terms, and I am merely a guide. And I feel damn lucky to be his mom.