24 Mar 2012

Nel my dreamer

I noticed in several group photos taken of my girls during field trips, that Nel frequently has this spaced out look. She's often staring at the object of study blankly, or staring away like her mind isn't there. My first reaction to these photos wasn't very nice at all....in fact a little demeaning (I say this with regrets.)  I started to compare her with  other kids who looked so alert, with their eyes oh so wide and focused as if listening attentively to the teacher. I even told her off and told her to be more alert.

But then, a still small voice told me "Martha, STOP berating your daughter, and think back to when you were 10 years old, DO IT NOW!"  Being the obedient child, I sat down, closed my eyes and thought back, back, way back to when I was 10. In my mind, there I was, an average child dressed in blue pinafore sitting right at the back of the class. I looked at myself, and I saw a child with very little confidence, a child who was ALWAYS....dreaming, with a lost look in her eyes.

I saw myself..a child of few words, who returned answers in 1 to 2 syllables if possible, a child who flunked exams (except for English) because she was always dreaming...and words on text books looked blur, but words on story books became life in her imagination. :)
[But hey, I ain't a failure today right? I turned out quite ok I think. :)]

I flash forward...and thought, I need to apologize to Nel and accept her for who she is and not compare her to other kids. Let her dream, for when she dreams...things are happening in her world...ideas, stories, solutions. I also found these 2 articles Power of DayDreaming,  and  DayDreaming Pupils. Whether these articles are truth or opinions, it doesn't matter, but point is that, for some children, in  dreaming they are learning, finding solutions and assimilating.

There is one difference between Nel and me though, that while I used daydreaming to escape, and to create imaginary settings and stories in my head, I'm guessing that she might use hers differently.
 Nel loves to fix things, while I'm the sort who thinks "Broken? Let hubby fix it, or heck, buy a new one."  I've noticed on several occasions where  dreaming was used by Nel to help her find solutions to fixing broken things.

One time while camping, her grandpa's inflatable pillow had a missing cork and was thus unusable. While most campers there shrugged their shoulders and said.."Ah, too bad..., it's time to buy a new one." Nel dreamed a while, walked away, then approached her grandpa and said "Here grandpa, a pencil, it will hold the air in." And guess what, it fit exactly and held the air in the pillow the whole night. Such a simple, practical solution.

Just last week we spent a night at my parent's place. In this room you have to pull a string on the ceiling to switch on/off the light. After we'd switched off the light, Jo had to go to the toilet. I couldn't find that darn string and muttered something like "Aarrghh!! Do you have to go now Jo??? Somebody should change this, nobody can ever find the silly string!"  After a short silence, Nel said "Mum, you should buy some glow ink and colour that string and we'll always be able to find the string."  (walla! what a fantastic idea I thought!)

As I journal this, I'm actually teaching myself...teaching myself to accept my child as she is, and not to compare her with children out there.  I remember hating it so much, when people compared me (the quiet dreamer) to more talkative, alert children who were prefects, and class representatives in competitions; hoping this comparison would "wake" me up and make me more alert and competitive. Well, it didn't work with me. It only made me feel lousy, worthless and stupid. So in my humble opinion, comparing your child with others will seldom work at motivating your child. In fact, I think it'll only cause your child to think "I'm not good enough."


So...for a lack of creativity, let's end with this...Celebrate Diversity! All children are different..let dreamers be dreamers, let doers be doers. Let the talkative ones talk to learn, let those who need to move and feel do so with all their heart. For we all learn in different ways.

Our feet intertwined, as we lay on the ground,  lil' heads on my tummy, my head on my husband's, watching, gazing at the bright full moon.
 (Photo taken in Frasers Hill...yeah, like it matters..I mean, for goodness sakes, this is just a picture of our feet. )


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8 comments :

Amy J. Delph said...

Lovely piece, Martha! I think you would like the short story I've seen in one of our English textbooks. It's called Be-ers and Doers by Budge Wilson.

Divoo said...

i loved this post, Martha... reminded me of me, as a child, and even as an adult... i always used to be (still am) lost and absent-minded, staring into and thinking about nothings... but then, i realized after long that i used to dream all those times... San too has that lost look at times, and that makes me remember my childhood! :)

that picture of your feet is very cozy and happy! :)

Martha said...

Tx Amy, will check out the book, and perhaps other similar stories for Nel to read. :)

Hey Div, I suppose that's why you write beautiful poetry. :) You and your imagination. :)

gail said...

Oh, Martha! How you fill my heart with these posts. Even though you had a rocky start, you finished so well. God opened your eyes to see your precious child's way.

marie said...

I love it. She reminds me of my Grandfather who didn't talk a lot or answer right away, but he always came back with thoughtful answers and invented some great farm equipment.

mellymilly said...

I am still struggling with this. Ironic how i hate it so much when i was growing up, n yet i still do it to my kids. And i hate myself everytime it happened. It's probably my biggest hurdle to unschooling my kids. My own mindset. Sigh. Bad habits die hard. Still working on it :(.

Mini Mocha said...

So True! I will check out those links.

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

Yes, a very good reminder. Somehow most of us forget that we are dreamers too. So when I see it through my children, I think to myself why is this so familiar? :)

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