Children always fascinate me. Most of the time when I forget the true inborn quality of human, I just have to look at little children. They are cheerful, full of curiosity, expressive, loud, innocence and fearless. They don’t have much worries and fears like adults. But unfortunately, I meet many parents, out of their ignorance, transmit their worries and fears to their kids and these little children can start to have worries and fears as early as the age of 3. In addition to that, it’s very common that the society want them not to make mistakes. While making mistakes is actually an important process to grow.
Every weekend, I teach my neighbor’s little daughter to read and write for one and half hour. She’s six years old. She’s so timid, shy and very quiet. In our first meetings, I needed to put extra efforts to just to communicate with her. Whenever I asked a question, she responded by nodding or shrugging. When she found difficulties in writing a word, she would just sit and stared at her paper blankly for a long time. When we tried to read a word together, I could only hear her whisper. But when I asked her to repeat after me, she would just move her lips without any sound.
It really put my patience to test. But actually it didn’t surprise me to see her like this. Her parents, being less fortunate and uneducated, almost have no time to educate her at home and to chitchat with her daily. Her mother works from morning till afternoon as a maid. And her father works as a construction worker. Both of them busy make a living for the whole family. And I found that she often got snapped when she asked too many questions or when she made mistakes.
Knowing this, couple of weeks ago, I tried to create a game for her. We called it ABC game. She would choose any letters and then together we tried to write a simple word that begins with that letter. She smiled a lot and started to make a sound. I even asked her to clap her hands with me whenever we spell a word. During the session, I also asked her many things just to create a more personal connection. I asked about her favorite color, favorite food, and the name of her best friend at school and even about the dream she had the night before. Luckily she found this amusing.
Today, before starting the lesson, I decided to ask her to do some artsy. I know she likes to draw using color pencils and crayons, so this time I asked her to join me painting with acrylic paint. Her eyes got bigger when she saw piles of small color tubes on the floor. I could sense her excitement. I only taught her how to mix certain colors and let her do the rest. I let her know that she’s free to use all the brushes and paints here and she didn’t have to worry to be messy or to create something ugly. There’s no ugly art for me. Whenever she hesitated, she would look at me asking for approval if her painting was okay. And I would assure her that she could paint anything on that paper. That she’s allowed to be as creative as she could be. Then not long after she started painting, she became talkative. She asked many questions like how to make pink color or how to clean the brush or how to make a flower and why she needed water to paint, etc. It was wonderful to finally see her actively into something and to finally listen to her cute voice enthusiastically asking many things. And it didn’t stop there. During our writing and reading lessons, she spelled the words loudly and when she made mistakes, she laughed and repeated with the correct ones. We really had a good time today. The hard works and efforts got paid. And I hope she will never lose her confidence anymore.