I liked this thing I read this week:
My daughter pointed at the haircut she wanted, and [the hairdresser] asked “So what do you like best about this picture?” This seemed like a really good question. — poet Jenny Browne
Everyone is sure they want to raise lifelong learners, but so often adults don’t respond to children’s interests and plans with curiosity
The point of PBH isn’t to move quickly through a set of tasks — Goal! Plan! Product! NEXT!
We want to stay curious — about what our children like, what they want to learn and make and do, and why.
It isn’t just about having a better project. It’s about having a better understanding of our child — their interests, their abilities, what they want to accomplish, and why.
If your child has an interest that you don’t like
, you should be intensely curious. What is so interesting about this? What draws her in so strongly? What is she doing with it? Is it as meaningless as I think it is? Could it lead somewhere good? What do other people think? What have other kids done with it? Are there possibilities I haven’t considered?
If your child has an interest you DO like, you should be intensely curious. What is she going to do with this? What will she find when she looks for resources? What will attract her? What questions will she ask? What does she want to play and create and share?
Doing a Pinterest search or asking online for resource and activity suggestions is the opposite of curiosity. It shuts the door on what your child would have done that was completely different and unique. It takes her by the hand and leads her firmly from wandering in the meadow to walking on the sidewalk. To be curious is to keep all the possibilities open to see what happens without your guiding hand.
The hairdresser up above could have just given Browne’s daughter the haircut in the picture — or her best approximation of it — but she probed further, knowing that the more she understood about the child’s feelings and goals, the better she could help her achieve what she wanted.
This is how we should approach children’s desires and plans — with curiosity and a desire to learn more, so we can support not just today’s plan but the lifelong learner we hope our child will be.
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