Learning doesn't always happen during school hours or from a textbook.
If you think that your teaching time only applies to school hours, you are missing opportunities with a huge impact.
Here are 3 times that you can make an impact during normal moments with your kids, without calling it school or penciling into your calendar:
When you feel emotion
When you doubt your abilities
When you fail
Warning: these are not your typical "feel good" moments. They might be uncomfortable for you, even vulnerable. Don't worry, that is where the best learning takes place. Try it and see!
#1: When you feel emotion
We are out of touch with emotions as a society. No one needs to feel sad, just have a cookie. No one needs to be bored, just get on a phone. No one needs to be lonely, just post on instagram and wait for likes.
If we don't know how to feel negative emotions without reacting, we will spend our lives chasing "good vibes only" (as I saw on a T-Shirt recently).
What if moments where we feel bad aren't a problem?
The next time you are feeling a negative emotion, take the moment to tell your kids. Demonstrate that it is ok. The emotion is not a problem to be solved. It is part of being a human.
When your kids see you being sad and not needing to eat, scroll, or escape, they will learn that they also can just feel sad.
Nothing has gone wrong. Humans don't feel good all the time. We don't need to fix it, we just need to feel.
That is a powerful lesson.
#2: When you doubt your abilities
When you find yourself thinking that you can't __________. Stop and tell your kids.
Ask them, do you ever think you can't do something?
Do you think it's true?
What should I do?
You might find in this discussion, that they believe in you more that you believe in yourself.
Are you going to let your doubts control you? Or take action anyways?
Taking the time to show them that you doubt yourself, and it makes you want to quit, but you have the capacity to try anyways, will show them that they have the power to try too.
At some point, they will doubt themselves.
What a gift it will be to have seen you doubt yourself, and do it anyways.
#3: When you fail
The next time you try something and fail, walk yourself through these questions, and involve your kids in thinking about them:
How do you want to think about your attempt?
What do you want to make what happened mean?
What will have the most positive impact?
What will make you more likely to try again?
Is believing that you failed useful?
Is it even true?
How do we learn something? (hint: by failing!!)
None of us gets away with succeeding the first time at ALL things we attempt.
If we want to, we can believe that failure is the way we learn. It is how we grow. It is how we figure out what does work.
Your kids will learn more from watching you fail and decide that it is ok than they will from a textbook.
If they can fail and still try again, ANYTHING is possible.
Teaching your kids in these normal moments, by example, that emotions, doubt, and failure are a natural part of being human will have a huge impact on them.
Then they will know that emotions don't affect their value, or their impact on the world.
Impact is determined by willingness to experience any emotion, willingness to doubt and do it anyways, and willingness to try and fail, and try again anyways.
You can have an impact on your kids just by sharing these normal moments that are part of being a human with them.
I'd love to hear your experience. Share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You've got this!
P.S. For more help with not wanting to quit after a failure, read more here.