08 January 2010

The difference between can and will

Maria Montessori knew that children were quite capable beyond what they were permitted to do for themselves. Can a 3 year old butter their own toast? Can they take their own shoes off and put them on again? Can they pour their own milk, wash the dishes, clean up toys, sing the entire or at least parts of the musical of Annie, use a hammer, memorize the 7 continents, learn social graces, be safe with tools or help a friend in need? Yes they can, gaining independence, building self esteem and social graces with each experience.
Today I asked my bear, "CAN you please take off your shoes?" unintentionally questioning her ability that I already know she can do. She said, "No I can't, CAN you do it for me?" What a bummer for her self esteem! So I said, "WILL you please take off your shoes?" she said "Okay Mom", and did it. Simply by using the word "will" instead of "can" shows her that I know and believe that she is capable and intelligent enough to manage all the little things that are required in daily life. Will she need assistance sometimes? Yup! Will she break a glass or spill water or tie a knot in her shoe laces or skip a few words in 'Tomorrow' or use way to much butter? No doubt about it. But that's exactly what she should be doing and I'll be there every step of the way supporting her to success in all of these daily life experiences, especially the clean up.
Personal research on parenting rule #6: Question the will not the ability.

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