Friday, October 17, 2008

An Interesting Experiment

This morning in our family Bible time, we were continuing our readings in Proverbs and came to chapter six, verses six through eleven. The passage warns against laziness and encourages readers to take a lesson from ants, who have no one to tell them what to do, and yet still get the necessary work done.

As we were wrapping up our discussion, I asked the kids what it would be like for them if no one told them what to do. They thought that sounded like a wonderful idea so, on a whim, I told them that no one would tell them what to do at all for the next few hours--until lunch time. They didn't believe me at first, but eventually realized I was serious.

It was very interesting.

Tano was very concerned to stay on track with his school work and was frustrated that I wouldn't tell him when to stop one thing and start another. He did not like the situation one bit. He was relieved to find that I was willing to help him with his math, but didn't like the freedom to make ALL of his own decision. He kept asking if we could go back to "normal."

Elli, on the other hand, LOVED it. She did one math problem and then dismissed herself on a break--which lasted for most of the rest of the morning. This made her brother crazy and he kept asking me if I was going to call her back in and make her get her work done. I wouldn't.

The day passed, othersise uneventfully. Tonight at dinner we discussed the experiment. As expected, Tano hated it. He wanted more parental input to help him. Elli admitted that she liked the freedom at first, but, realizing that she now had so much homework to do, she decided that she had made some very poor decisions. In her own words, she was "unwise."

After a lengthy discussion, the kids themselves decided the following:

Parents should still help them make most decisions at this age. As they grow older, they should be allowed to make more decisions for themselves. When they make good decisions on their own, they should be rewarded with more freedom to make their own choices. When they make poor choices, though, their freedoms should be limited again. About the time they finish high school, they should be prepared to make all their own decisions.

I swear to you, this is what THEY came up with. I love having enough time with my kids, now that we are educating at home, to really get to know them and hear their thoughts and opinions.


Dan said...

That's a tribute to both them...and their parents.

Duncan & Suzanne said...

That is so awesome - way to let them work through the issue and get to the heart of it. I find it amusing how much my son is like Tano and my daughter is like Elli - Graeme would be dying to have input - to make sure he's doing the "right" thing - whereas Blaire Rose would be ecstatic to make her own choices only to regret it later. Fun stuff, this parenting!

Mister Ed T said...

Give your kids and yourself an "A" in Parenting 101!