The other night I was at dinner with my husband’s family. At one point, my husband’s brother and his wife were talking about their daughter’s acceptance into college. So I asked, “Will she be bringing her car?” Mom said no, Dad said yes. Mom gave all her reasons why her daughter shouldn’t have her car–she needs to get used to walking places, she needs to focus on her studies, she can certainly take the train three hours to get home! Dad countered with his thoughts. She may want to go into town with friends, it would be easier for her to go back and forth from home and hey-she’s been driving all this time, why should she have to suffer without her car?
To which Mom said, “Were you raised in satin diapers?”
Which made me laugh. But it also got me thinking.
Do we swaddle our students in satin diapers? Do we do for them what they should be doing for themselves? I think sometimes we do. Instead of letting them solve some of their problems, we tell them what to do, every step of the way. We figure it all out, then give them a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. Or we ask a question and in the next breath answer it for them. Why do we do this? It’s quicker. It’s easier. But it doesn’t get them to think. It doesn’t teach them to explore or investigate. When I trained for Reading Recovery, our teacher leader always told us, “Whatever a kid CAN do, a kid should do.”
Not always easy to let the process unfold. But it’s better than dressing them in satin diapers.