My kids are always a source of inspiration for me in my life and, more specific to this blog, my writing. I have pages in my journal with blog post ideas. However, the best posts always seem to come out of the answers to my question, “Hey kids, what should I write about this week?” This week, as always, the question they suggested surprised me. However, what really got me thinking were their answers. Read on.
“Write about our tests, dad,” was their immediate answer. On my end I’m thinking, really? What could be so interesting about a test? I hated them frankly. I was what you would call, a poor test taker. In hindsight I think that was a guidance counsellor euphemism for ‘David is a lazy procrastinator who waited too late to cram for his exams’. But, enough about me. I had been thrown an idea by the kids. To expand on it I did what I have learned to do when presented with a thought that at first seems unworthy. I asked a few questions.
“So,” I asked. “What is it about tests that you want me to know about?” I got two wonderful gems in reply.
My son, Ryan, said that for him an exam was a time of real tension. He knows the material, but the pressure of the exams is tough on him and the act of completing an exam marks the end of the tension. Interesting perspective.
My daughter, Taylor, said that in her case the exam was a time of excitement. It was a rite of passage in a way that signalled that a new grade or term was about to start. Quite a different way of treating the same challenge.
Is one right or wrong? Is one a better answer than the other. No. Of course not. However, these two different perspectives of approaching the same moment in student life gives us a lesson in tackling other challenges that life throws at us.
Having taken the time to discuss this with my kids, Ryan can now see tests as Taylor does, as a milestone that can herald a new beginning. This can help to take some of the tension away from him as he studies. Taylor, on the other hand, can consider that the test is not just something to zip through with the excitement of what is beyond, but can harness some of Ryan’s constructive tension to give her focus to get tasks done and beat the resistance.
Armed with this example you can take a moment to look at an upcoming challenge and appreciate it from a context that is not natural or immediately comfortable to you. You may be surprised, as I was, how this insight can comfort, spur on, encourage, or motivate you. Try it.
As always I appreciate your comments on my blog posts. Take a moment to add yours below, with your thoughts on this post, or just the inadvertently insightful things that you have heard kids say.