The line between educating and setting limits is very thin, and adults often cross it. We think we have to teach children everything. It is true that children have a lot to learn, but we cannot fall into the mistake of thinking that our way of doing things or seeing the world is better or worse, that it is the only correct way.
The role of parents and teachers is not to create exact copies of themselves, but to give children the tools with which to develop their full potential. Educating is synonymous with enriching, not limiting.
There are many ways to limit ...
Whenever we scold a child for trying to do things his way and teach him to do it like us, thinking it's the only right way, we are limiting his creativity.
Whenever we scold a child for making a mistake, we generate fear of failure in him and lay the foundation for negative self-esteem.
Every time we label a child we take away a little piece of his personality, limiting it to the expectations of others, locking it in an ever smaller box.
Whenever we expect a child to follow in our footsteps, because we think it is best for him, we snatch the possibility of dreaming and pursuing his own goals.
This fantastic video titled “A cloudy lesson” turns into a great lesson for adults. The video was made in 2010 by director Yezi Xue and lasts just two minutes. It's done very well, and it's an amazing story inspired by the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson.
Three important lessons we can learn
1. There is no right way to do things. Everyone should experiment for themselves and find the way they feel most comfortable and that best reflects their way of being. This is particularly important in the case of children, because they have amazing creativity and, if we limit it, it will be very difficult to bring it back to life. We can teach them musical notes, but we should let them compose the melody.
2. Mistakes can lead to great things. Mistakes are part of the learning process, so we don't have to fear them or give children a negative idea of respect. For example, did you know that X-rays, penicillin and graphene, among many other inventions, were all discovered by mistake or by mere coincidence? Instead of preventing and punishing mistakes, we need to encourage children to learn from them and try to discover their positive side. Plus, it's also a great mental exercise.
3. Support is key. If the grandfather in the video had scolded his grandson and hadn't motivated him to make new clouds, the child would have lived this experience as a failure that probably would have marked his life forever, generating a sense of guilt. However, support, trust and love change everything.