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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Did You Weed Out His Good Traits?

I once made a mistake. My son pulled out "weeds" from my flower pots, which happened to be seedlings of vegetables that I had planted. I had even placed cards indicating the date & name of vegetable in each pot. So you can imagine my exasperation. They were obviously not empty pots, and whatever appeared were not necessarily weeds! I succumbed to my dismay and chided him.

After cooling down, I really regretted what I did and realized that I was the one who had done damage. No, I don't mean the plants. Yes, I mean my son. Needless to say, I quickly spent more than double the time (talking, explaining, sharing & hugging etc) to "repair the damage done".

This boy has always been proactive, taking initiative in helping out with housework etc. Yes, he even scrubs the toilet bowl out of his own accord. He would willingly volunteer his service or participation whether at home, in school, or at other social settings (Of course, at his age, enjoyment may be the main motivating factor, haha).

Furthermore, he has helped me with weeding before. To him, weeds were no good and have to be cleared as soon as possible before they multiply out of control. From his point of view, it was just another chore that he's trying to help out with. Upon analyzing the situation with a clear mind, I concluded that he was not purposefully causing harm, but rather had done it with good intentions.

Would I prefer to lose those seedlings or dampen my son's proactive nature? This valuable trait in him should not be destroyed. Of course he can be taught to be more careful next time round, and learn to differentiate plants we want from weeds we don't want. He can be taught to think of the consequences or gather more information before he act. But the act in itself should not be condemned.

I don't mean we cannot reprimand a child when he has done wrong. However what do we achieve by doing so? Many people find that if they venture to do something, they will be blamed for mistakes or failures. If they don't do anything, they don't get blamed because they won't make mistakes! Thus they slowly become apathetic or indifferent. Don't you find that many teens are not as enthusiastic or lively as younger kids? Maybe there's a reason.

Mistakes are valuable learning lessons. By scolding a child for every mistake he makes, especially unintentional ones, we are actually squashing his passion in life and his spirit of adventure. Aren't we pulling out the good "seedlings" in their hearts?

Planting a seed in the soil is easy. Planting a good "seed" in a child's heart takes much more effort. It is a pity to weed out seedlings by mistake, it is even more so if we inadvertently "weed" out the "good seedlings" in a child's heart.

I hope you don't make the same mistake. At least, don't react too fast :-) Look at the children's intentions and not just the results. There is only so much that we can teach them, and they will make mistakes no matter how much we protect them. But they will learn & grow well if we don't unduly discourage their every effort.

I guess that's life.


Shannon said...

It looks like you have a proactive and industrious kid indeed! You are very lucky, I can just imagine how rewarded you must feel.

I wish you can follow my blog too. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Kia Li said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kia Li said...

Hi Shannon, yes I'm very grateful for being blessed with wonderful kids. Your blog has very nice pictures. Best wishes to you too!

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