I found an Origami set while rummaging through the cupboard. It included a stack of colourful paper squares and a little instruction manual. The instructions were very clear and best of all, each creation would take five minutes.
The first few folds were straightforward but then it started to get more complicated. With each new fold I could feel myself becoming tense. I was unsure of how to manipulate the paper and I felt incompetent. I began to feel irritated and it crossed my mind to throw the paper into the bin, however, I decided to step back from the Origami and take a little break.
While making myself a cup of tea, I had a bit of an AHA moment. "Ahhh", I thought, "What I am feeling could be an indication of what Nick is feeling when he is faced with a challenge".
1. I had looked at the instruction manual.
2. I was guided by the instructions and felt competent with the challenge.
3. I hit a tough spot but persevered.
4. The Origami continued to challenge me and I began to feel on edge.
5. Frustration began to surface.
6. Then brain freeze. I can't do this!
7. My body went into fight or flight mode. I felt like crushing the paper, yet took the flight option.
8. I walked away from the activity.
9. I regulated my feelings by choosing a calming activity (making tea).
10. I started thinking of ways that I could scaffold my learning (i.e. YouTube examples).
Fortunately I know how to regulate my thoughts, emotions and body, therefore it was easy for me to remove myself from the activity and calm myself down before going back to tackle the challenge!
Not so for my Nick.....
My style of parenting involves taking all of the above points into consideration and guiding Nick in such a way that he learns from each little challenge. I want him to feel competent and willing to try new experiences.
Questions to ask myself when engaging with Nick
* What is the challenge?
* What do I think will be Nick's 'edge plus one'?
* What is the lead up to the challenge (familiar comfortable pattern)?
* How am I going to introduce the challenge?
* How am I going to scaffold the challenge should Nick need assistance?
* How am I going to spotlight the difficulty encountered?
* How will I help Nick regulate if the challenge is overwhelming? (With planning, it shouldn't be!)
* How am I going to spotlight each success?
* What will I do next time?
Food for thought, hey? How do you feel when faced with an overwhelming challenge? Can you relate?
I completed the crane, although I did get stuck on the very last fold and the final creation is not as it should be. For me, it is 'good enough'.
Five minutes? More like twenty!
Dead easy? Challenging.... although it was my first attempt!