You know that moment your kiddo says, “I want to learn to…”? That elated feeling of excitement on this new venture? I couldn’t wait for that moment. I couldn’t wait to sit down with one of my mini’s I created. That day finally came, but not at all when I expected it nor when I was ready for it!
My son was only two and a half when he began trying to read and asking to learn. He was almost three when he began reading the first few pages of Dr. Seuss’ ABC. At first I thought ok, let’s do this, and I worked with him to see what he could grasp and learn. I never in my wildest dreams thought it unusual. It made sense to me. Ollie, my son, made sense to me. He always appeared older then he was (I mean, we left the hospital with him in three-month clothing, for crying out loud), he always acted more mature. He loved to be challenged, loved to learn, and looked at us like we were crazy if we even attempted to baby talk to him. (All the poor Grandma’s…they all thought he hated them because he began crying the moment they started cooing.) He started speaking early on too, knew his ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes; he knew it all, and we never second guessed him.
Some moms look at me like I’m insane for letting my son learn everything he asks to learn. But, if I don’t teach him, what will that say to his future self? Will I smother the flame that burns deep in his soul of wanting to learn? Will he be excited or even willing to finally learn when I feel he’s the “right age”? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I don’t know which is the right path. Many, many, many moms will tell me what they think is the right path and shake their heads in disgust if I don’t choose to take their advice. At the end of the day, he’s my son. He’s mine and my husband’s responsibility — his health, his heart, his spirit, his little brain. It forced us to decided early on to take the dirty looks, the shaking heads, the looks of surprise. I’ll weigh the “repercussions” of letting him learn “too early” if it ends up giving us a happy boy.
In the end, I’m sure he may not remember any of these early days, but he will remember knowing I won’t turn his interests away when he voices them. My goal is for him to know he can come to us with confidence and know he has our support in whatever he wishes to pursue. Not the reading lessons, not the exploration of the solar system, but the comfort in which he’ll seek with us and know we’ll support him no matter what.
I don’t know anyone with a child like mine, just like you don’t know any child like yours. Each and every child is wonderfully unique in their one way. I hear similar stories, similar situations, but no matter how many similarities, they are different in many ways. For starters, this one’s mine.
Let your child lead you in their quests of curiosity. Let them lead you to where they want to explore, what they want to learn. Never shun them for lack of maturity or what you think they may lack mentally. Strive to work with them to help them understand what fascinates them. Help them explore their gifts, their talents, even their “weakness,” and help them grow stronger in every aspect of their life that you can. They may surprise you with how much they already know or how quickly they grasp it. I promise you’ll enjoy them making their own decisions and you’ll enjoy knowing this is building a bridge of trust between the two of you.
Take the path your child leads; God gave you this child specifically. You are their world just as much as they are yours. Enjoy the adventure, enjoy the exhaustion, enjoy the tears, the triumphs and disappointments, because you will learn from them.