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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Teaching patience, and the reward of hard work....

"Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success."- Dale Carnegie

One of my senior students, Lisa, taught a 5 year old member of my "mighty mites" class (Lilyanna), how to tie her own shoes today.....It was the cutest thing ever!

It started with me checking Lilyanna's belt, which was tied incorrectly. (although we do a Kung Fu amalgam, our youngest members wear karate belts because its difficult for the young ones to keep a 9 foot sash from coming loose and unraveling around their legs).

I asked "Did you tie your belt all by yourself?"

"No, Miss Lisa did". I giggled and looked at Lisa as if to say: "Get with me to review belt tying!". I then turned to Lilyanna and asked "Wouldnt it be cool to tie your own belt" She nodded, "Yeah! Just ike a big girl!"

"Can you tie your shoes?"

Sad face by Lilyanna. She made a half frown and in a low voice "No......"

"That's okay! Well, if you can tie your shoes, tying a belt is no problem!"

"Will tying my shoe make belt tying easier?" Lillyanna asked.

"Sure it will! Its a little difficult at first, but with practice you'll get it."

Lisa stepped in and the picture was so cute. Lisa and Lilyanna sitting in the lobby, Lilyann's foot perched on Lisa's knee, and talking about bunny ears and wraparounds. Lilyanna had her tongue sticking out in that "I'm concentrating sooo hard" fashion. 15 minutes of pure concentration and effort...she was not distracted, even with her younger sibling asking Mommy about ice cream!

Her Mom winked at me, gave me a thumbs up, and whispered "Thank you...we've been trying for months to teach her and she didn't want to do it".

"I guess, sometimes, we just need a another reason to want to learn something, other than merely keeping our shoes from falling off our feet".

Motivation, persistence, and enthusiasm are a wonderful things, yes? I'm sure that by next week after some practice over the weekend, that Lillyanna will be able to tie her shoes "like a big girl". The belt tying will now be less frustrating for her, I think.

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