Learn To Do By Doing. That’s what we hear all year from 4H leaders. Yup. Got it. This program isn’t just about theory, it’s about getting out there and putting their skills into action. Great. Kids are going to gain skills. Awesome.
Awesome until its time for them to put those skills into action, and struggle, and make their own mistakes, and for moms and dads and leaders and everyone who wants to “give them a hand” to stand back and offer them nothing more than support and encouragement.
Don’t get me wrong. I love that they are doing these things. I love that they are doing them on their own. I love that they get to see how much work goes into the projects that they chose to do. I love that this makes them responsible for something and that there is a hard deadline for them to meet. My goal as a parent, after all, is for them to learn, to achieve things on their own and to be responsible for things.
Today was hard for me. It was hard to stand there and watch Little Miss struggle with her icing on this hot humid day. It was hard for me to watch Little Man struggle to write up his project sheets because writing is something that he hates doing.
It was hard for me to watch them at Woodsman practices in the winter struggling to get the shavings made or to get the matches lit. It was hard for me to sit in the audience during speeches and not give reminders to make eye contact more.
It’s hard knowing that after we teach them what they need to know that we have to push them out of the nest and hope they fly.
And boy do they fly! Win or lose. First place or last place. They fly. Every time they fly higher and stronger. They cheer one another on and encourage each other to work harder and never give up.
In the end its not so hard after all. When they have the skills they need and the tools to do the job it gets easier for us to stand back and say “You’ve got this.” Not just with their 4H projects but in life.