When I brought my first-born home from the hospital it was a warm May morning. I remember the sense of joy and fear mixed together, thinking, "what on earth am I doing? I don't know what to do with a baby? What if he is crying and I don't know what to do? How do I find out what he needs?"
Living through a few months of colic and trying to figure out how to calm an evening-fussy boy was a challenge - but we learned a little of who he was and what would bring him relief. But there were pleasant surprises, too. In the days of trying to baby-proof the house, if we told him ONCE not to touch something - that was all he needed. Never touched it again!! Challenges and gifts wrapped up together in one little boy
Then baby number two came and I wondered how I would manage with 2 young ones. What if they are both needing me at the same time? What if I don't ever get to sleep again? What if son number two doesn't listen like son number one? (And he didn't.)
In time, we figured that out, too. I figured that our second son was an early morning person, while our first son was geared to more evening time activity and sleeping in til much later. We also found out that our second son was much more naturally outgoing. Each child completely different.
Our daughter came a couple of years later, and we discovered her personality was (not shockingly) different from her brothers. She loved to talk. She loved fashion. She loved to play in the toilet (she is completely horrified at that now, by the way)! Parenting our little girl was both a joy and a new learning experience.
Even though my husband and I are the same people we always are, we have developed a different relationship with each of our children. Each person brings a set of attributes to the developing relationship, and all those factors merge together to create a unique personal connection - a connection that changes over time, depending on the growth of each person. All that to say, as we parent our children, we can expect that our best relationship will come with each child as we ackowledge that they are growing and maturing, and need something different from us over the years. And they need us to lead the way to better connection by carefully watching to see what and where their hearts are headed.
The same is true with teaching. Finding a child's natural curiosity and learning style and teaching to that will bring out learning moments that are unique.
Some children are very tentative and having the familiar security of having a parent there is a constant source of strength and reassurance.
Other children like to explore and have freedom to move out on their own, knowing that Mom and Dad will be there when they need them.
Some children like to learn while on the move.
Some like to stay focussed with quiet, organized activities.
Each style is fine. Just different and important to that child.
When you are in the classroom, or in your home, or out in the bigger world of your community, make it your mission to find out who your child is. Your relationship with your child will be greatly enhanced not only by finding out who they are and what is important to them, but also how your natural style can be adapted to create a stronger connection with them. Is that a tall order? Sometimes. But being connected with your child is worth the leadership effort that it is!