Letting Go

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I wrote this a month ago and it’s aimed at parents, but I feel that those of you without kids can still learn a lot about letting go.
(Over controlling in the office environment anyone?)

The past two weeks have been intensely creative for our family. We have experienced tests galore and more! There have been two orals with large posters and 3D renditions of an Egyptian sarcophagi, a cartouche, plus a sphinx!
I look forward to the weekend ahead, my husband has been tasked with taking me to movies as I need to forget the stress that goes with project week!

Part of my stress lies in letting go.
I often speak about letting go and then consciously have to put it into practice.
My one boy in particular is like a bull, I virtually have to grab him by the horns and wrestle him to the ground to get him to stay put and on track.
I find myself itching and virtually sweating blood as he does his task.
The reason?
Well, I want to grab that Pritt and do it for him of course!
I know that I can wield a scissors faster, glue faster and paint faster.
He stands and pours wood glue onto paper as though the paper is thirsty for it.
He makes all sort of weird boy sounds (if you know what I mean) and constantly has strange desires to pick up the dog poo or jump on the trampoline in the pitch dark.
But…
I love it when I hear his breathing getting even and he settles in and does the job.
I love it when I see his creativity flowing.
I love it when he pushes for his way.

Most of modern parents try and do these projects for them.
I think that often moms should get the marks not the kids.
I learnt a very interesting thing while homeschooling him a year ago it’s called “working at the elbow” and that’s what I try to do with projects – I work at their elbows.
When you are at the elbow you don’t physically do the work but you take a directors role.
You can give these kind of options:
“Try and decide between the red, yellow or green.”
“Use both hands when you type.”
“Google this, what do you see?”
“How does it look to you?”
“I like it!”
“Try giving it enough space.”
“Can you make it stand out more?”
“Well done!”
“The glue is dripping onto the carpet!!”
Keep in mind that it’s a directorship role and even directors need to know when to put a lid on it!

There was a little boy pacing outside school the other day stressing about all that he had gotten wrong.
I put my arm around him and assured him that we have to get it wrong lots before we learn to get it right.
We have to get it wrong lots before we learn to get it right.
Eina, isn’t it?
Getting it wrong.
Getting it wrong has become a virtual sin, especially in the perfectionistic world of school.
As parents, we strive for our kids to get it right.

It is in getting it wrong that we are faced with other avenues, when we have an opportunity for the light bulbs to come on.
It is in getting it wrong that the real learning can start.

And so become the guide and not the doer.
Be at the elbow and stop trying to be the hand.
Give creativity a chance to flow even if it is crooked…
Know that getting it wrong is often the road to getting it right.
And get that glue wiped up before it dries on the carpet!

This is me Tania Ahlfeldt encouraging you and encouraging myself, to stop trying to do it all – creativity can be crooked and letting go can be a beautiful thing.

Ps: The word ‘eina’ is an expressive Afrikaans word for ‘sore’.

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