Life Lesson Series: Mastery is Better than Loose Ends

What comes to mind when you see the word ‘mastery’?

A fourth way to expand your child’s world is to help them become experts in their fields of interests, and the task at hand.  Mastery.  Mastery means you take the time to develop a comprehensive knowledge or skill in a topic or ability – that’s the definition I’m focused on today.

We may not master every task we set to achieve.  We all have natural talents and abilities that make certain activities easier or harder for us.  We must admit though, exceptional proficiency, deep knowledge, highly refined execution, and/or stunning aesthetics are highly regarded.  Whether you are a yogi, a chef, a mother, a doula, a researcher, a teacher, a personal trainer, an artist, an advisor, a financial planner, a marketer, or a spiritual leader like a paster, or other, we appreciate those that take their mission seriously.

Life Lesson: “We can come back to this tomorrow.”  Since my toddler isn’t even two, I don’t expect he can sit and complete a coloring sheet in one sitting.  He loses interest, and he looses interest quickly in comparison to girls his own age.  That’s alright.  I tell him, ‘we can come back to this tomorrow’, and put his work-in-progress on the refrigerator so we can continue later.  Through practice, he is getting used to doing his endeavors to completion.  As he’s capable, he can decide when he’s finished with each task as he matures.

You cannot force mastery of a skill.  For mastery to occur, there must first be an attention span.  Of course, there are physiological milestones that must occur through child development for attention spans to lengthen.  Some people’s brains process differently, so they have other barriers to overcome.  Some of my closest friends could write, at length, about what has worked and not worked in their homes with their children, significant others, or even themselves.

There are other factors that play a role in one’s ability to master an undertaking: physical limitations, emotional barriers, proximity or logistics, financial aid, interest, etc.

Regardless of the difficulty of skill-acquisition, you can aid a child’s ability to master a skill by equipping them.  You can:

  • Remove distractions
  • Investigate your child’s learning style, and do your best to accommodate it
  • Engage in attention-building activities and games
  • Build unit-studies that specifically target and strengthen each weak link in the chain, one link at a time, until the whole chain is stronger
  • Be an encourager – through all the failures and false starts – be the biggest encourager available, your child’s most enthusiastic cheerleader, and wildly optimistic advocate
  • Choose the optimal time of day to work on the hardest duties
  • Ensure the physical needs of sleep and nutrition are met
  • Provide multiple opportunities for practice, again and again
  • Recruit outside help when necessary
  • Reinvent the charge at hand to make it interesting again
  • Be a great listener and observer
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Teach time management skills, planning skills, and self-evaluation skills

Can you think of other ways you can help your children become tomorrow’s masters?  I’m so excited to watch our kids growing up together!

Love, Robyn

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