"Letters!" Hunter joyfully exclaimed before he even put both of his feet into the bathtub water.
I get down his bag of alphabet letters and dump the foam pieces into the water. Hunter immediately begins sifting through the pile and carefully sticking them one by one to the wall.
I join in with him, handing him a letter and narrating, "Here's a D!" He carefully places it on the wall, for some reason, one in each tile. I kept handing them to him while I taught him the names, then when he had completed his row, he abruptly dropped to his stomach and began playing with his boat. Teaching session over.
I sat back and smiled as I watched him now stacking some letters inside the tight fit of the boat's interior. He fit about five of them, closed the lid, and began I dialog with the rubber penguin.
Being eager about "letter time", I thought to myself, he may not be learning the letter names right now, but he is learning nonetheless. Experimenting and exploring his world: I could see the gears turning as I watched his eyes while he performed his meticulous self-imposed tasks of stacking, sorting, and imagining. And, I thought to myself, sometimes the best learning happens even when I'm just watching silently.
Now, I'm not a fan of the popular ideology that children grow ideally and learn best when they're in essence divorced from the influence of their parents. I believe that parents and children are a wonderful combination. I think that children believe that way too.
But I also know that with children there is a time to guide and a time to be guided. There's a time to sow the seeds and a time to watch the blossoms. There's a time to teach and a time to observe.
Most of the time - most of life - is a time for teaching, for a two-year-old at least, who is constantly asking questions, sparking discussions, experimenting - constantly learning. Parents can and should feed their passionate desire for knowledge.
But there are those times, like last night, when I have to remember that being a wise parent sometimes means to simply observes and allow the learning to take place all on its own.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ...a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted... a time to keep silence, and a time to speak"Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2, 7
Hunter is 2 years, 10 months old