CLOSE TO HOME| A call to meaningful work

OUR CHILDREN constantly imitate what they see from adults, most especially from age zero to seven although it often stretches up to the ninth year.

They are really beings of imitation and emphasis on this must be given every time.

There is a story about two sisters, age four and seven. Both walk together to school and both are limping on their right legs. However, only the older girl has a problem with her leg; the other only imitates the way her sister walk.

Also, I have a Japanese friend who had two daughters and I asked her how they taught their children to use chopsticks, she told that her children at two years old just picked up their own chopsticks and copied what Mama and Papa are doing. These are very simple example how our children unconsciously copy things that they are often exposed to.

We live in times when technology has become part of the reality. And with just one click, a person gets instant gratification and gains access to various information. In a world where “swipe” has become one of the primary things that the hands do, it only follows that we have children who have not fully developed their fine motor skills because of lack of understanding with what to do with their own hands.

As parents, we desire that our kids grow healthy and smart. We want them to acquire the necessary skills so that when they grow up, they will be life-ready. A huge chunk of what we want to teach our children is embedded in how we use our very own hands. This now entails mustering our will to train our own hands to make beautiful work. Knitting, crochet, stitching, cleaning the grounds, sweeping the floor, cooking, and other household chores, all these are meaningful work. If our children see us doing these things, they will ultimately imitate what we do with our hands.

I hear a lot of parents who complain about their lack of ‘talent’ in doing these things, most especially handworks. I’d be honest and tell them that the challenge in knitting and crochet are also manifestations of challenges in fine motor skills; and interestingly, fine motors have a lot to do with logic. Before I became a nurturer in Tuburan, I also had the same complaints, I really felt that knitting and other handworks were not for me. It was when I was required to learn handwork to teach the children that I gradually developed my patience in sitting down and work on strings instead of just swiping away with my tab for the rest of the afternoon.

There is nothing in our body that cannot be overcome by will. But if we already closed our doors to the possibilities of these kinds of work, then, of course, it cannot be done. Here’s a secret. A child’s constant exposure to these “boring” works will train them to be calmer and more patient. Trust me, I have seen it. What I’m saying is, if you learn handwork and cultivate patience in your system, your child will also adapt the way you behave.

Eventually, your child will also want to do handworks. By the way, it is totally for a boy to learn knitting and crochet; this will help them with their algorithm and Math. Only, be kind to them and to don’t get irritated when you teach them and they don’t understand the process right away. Part of our job is to constantly remind them, we cannot expect immediate results. They will slowly take it in and when they finally know, they will be using it for the rest of their lives.

As adults, it is best that we cultivate for ourselves what we want for our children. Do want our children to be industrious and do meaningful work when they’re grownups? Perhaps it is best that start this time while they are young.

(Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a mother of two and a nurturer at Tuburan Institute. For questions, comments. and suggestions, please feel free to email her at socojoanmae@yahoo.com or visit Tuburan Institute at www.tuburaninstitute.org.)

Posted in Opinion