I Love Watching My Grandchildren Learn
“But I am concerned that one day I will say or do something and have her mimic me to my shame instead of my delight.” – Papa Dave
I am watching in awe the growth and development of my grand-daughters. Over the past weekend we spent some time with each one. It amazes me what they are learning and how fast they are growing. My oldest just turned one recently and her cousin will join her ranks in another two months. Like every proud grandparent I have pictures galore. Here are a couple of my favorites.
When I think about how much they have learned in the short time they’ve been with us it leaves me reeling. Today I’m even more stunned because I’m working in a third grade class. Obviously the contrasts between the development of these 8-9 year olds is far advanced over the toddlers, but this is just a few years away. These two little girls are going to learn so much in the next few years that it makes my head spin.
Something else I notice about them is that they love the learning process. Amaria and Jaydan both reach, touch, taste, grab, see, listen, and shake anything they can get their hands on. We are constantly having to pull things from their remarkably strong clutches. In mere microseconds mystery items move from the floor to the fingers to the mouth. They are not phased in the slightest by how gross we might think something is…they are exploring and learning their world, and they love it.
This Leaves me with a Couple Thoughts:
First, I wonder when and how we lose that passion for exploring and learning. The excitement of those little ones seems a distant memory for even these young elementary students. Obviously I’m glad that they have outgrown the fetish of putting everything they touch in their mouths…that would just be nasty. But I would love to see them mentally stretching for things that are just out of reach, grabbing things that are new and interesting, and as eager to experience and explore as they were when they took those first cautious steps.
Sadder still is that at my age—young as I am—I too have lost much of the passion for exploration and learning that I know I must have had before my first birthday. I enjoy learning things, but my interest and excitement doesn’t hold a candle to the brightness that crosses the face of my grandchild when she has learned something. I want to recapture that enthusiasm in my own explorations.
Second, I need to be more mindful of the lessons I am teaching. Today I have come to the personal realization that, because they are learning so quickly, and because they are learning so thoroughly, I have to be extremely aware and careful of the lessons I am passing along to them. The things I do and say in front of them will quickly become a part of their experience and education. It’s a humbling and terrifying thing. As I think back I remember how swiftly the language and demeanor I passed along to my children became part of who they are. It’s true, they will more quickly do what they see you do and say what they hear you say then they will do or say what you tell them to do or say.
There is a song I learned years ago in Sunday School that admonishes me to:
- O be careful little eyes what you see
- O be careful little eyes what you see
- There’s a Father up above
- And He’s looking down in love
- So, be careful little eyes what you see
- O be careful little ears what you hear
- O be careful little hands what you do
- O be careful little feet where you go
- O be careful little mouth what you say
What I’m mindful of today is that it isn’t just the little eyes, ears, hands, feet, and mouths that need to be careful, but even more so those who are bigger, older, more mature need to be keenly aware as well. We hold so much sway with these little ones. Right now it’s a fun game to hold my hands up and watch my grand-daughter mimic me. But I am concerned that one day I will say or do something and have her mimic me to my shame instead of my delight.
Today my grandchildren will learn more than I will learn. In ratio they will probably easily learn 10 or 20 times what I will learn. My hope and prayer is that the lessons they learn will be positive and helpful. I know they will learn some of the uglier and more painful lessons of life eventually, but in the meantime I hope that I can help provide them with lessons that will see them through those harder lessons.