On Mother’s Day: Thanks For Being My Teacher Too!
(A refresh of one of our favorite posts!)
Mother’s Day is close to Teacher Appreciation Day and that is most appropriate! Teaching doesn’t happen only in the classroom with “real” teachers. There’s a teacher inside every mother, read on to see how mothers are teachers too. Another reason to say “Thank You Mom!” – not that you needed it
Mother’s lap is a child’s first classroom. The first five years of life impacts how well babies learn and grow throughout their lifetimes. This is probably when mothers do their most intensive teaching to a child who’s doing a fantastic job imitating a sponge and soaking up every bit of knowledge.
The survival stuff.
Learning to eat, drink, climb stairs, crossing streets safely, identifying a dangerous pet from a friendly one. The basics for staying alive.
Social and emotional must-haves.
With every hug and cuddle mothers teach their children about love, trust, friendship and all those intangibles that make life worth living.
Even if you may not call them ‘academics’ (though many do, even for toddlers), mothers give children the building blocks for learning: language, math, science, arts. It may be mommy-and-me play, but the mom is teaching and the little one is learning a lot (maybe that why kiddos need those naps!).
The kid is off to a “real” school, with “real” teachers (yes, they do play a big part in a child’s life) for most of the day and mom is no longer a primary source of their learning. But moms are still teaching, though some of what they teach is now influenced by external factors and there are new areas to explore.
At this stage, mothers are primarily focused on helping their child learn to handle the requirements of school, the “schoolwork” and “homework”, not to mention the tests, the projects, and the to-do lists that the teacher sends home. Learning how to cope with school is important and a trusted, loving source like mom makes a huge difference.
Even though a child is school, moms may find themselves helping (“teaching”) him how to do math or interpret the guidelines for a book report while teaching study skills and habits (turn off the TV while doing homework!). This is the time when a mom also encourages the child to try other activities like sports and music, so she can learn new skills and get a taste of the many wonderful things she may enjoy learning and doing.
This started during the early years and will continue through adolescence, but now the mother and child can name the traits (honesty, kindness), identify their presence or absence in role models and discuss why they’re important. Mothers will be finding teaching moments everywhere from shopping trips to soccer fields!
The pre-teen and teen years are a significant transition, and mothers may be shifting to a more supportive role in their teaching. Most of all, what they’re doing now is helping the child prepare for adulthood and all that it entails. Mom is getting her child ready to take on the world!
Maybe moms don’t help their children with advanced math anymore, but they try to find someone else who can or encourage him to go talk to his teachers. Maybe they can’t critique an essay, but they help their child brainstorm what she should write about for a personal statement. And moms teach their kids how to plan and juggle various commitments and deadlines – after all, they do plenty of that themselves!
It’s about dealing with their peers (Friends! Boyfriends! Girlfriends!), as well as about speaking up at school, asking for summer jobs or help from people they know. And mom is there to teach them how to recognize, accept and handle their feelings and manage their interactions (and give a hug and box of tissues when needed).
Young teens are learning about the world and their role in it. They may become aware of the major problems (environment, inequality etc.) and mom may be part of many long (and heated) discussions on the future of their world. Moms are learning something themselves while offering guidance in understanding these complex issues that will affect their children’s adult lives..
There’s a long list of “simple” things that they get their child to do like managing money, doing laundry, cooking meals. All the things they need to know to be able to head out into the world on their own.
Let’s face it, once kids have discovered the Internet, it is easy to believe that they can learn “how” to do just about anything from a YouTube video. But not the “way we do it” and usually not the “why”. And Moms have been answering that question from the time when humans first learned to call out for ‘Mom!’.
What was one valuable lesson you learned from your mother?? We’d love to hear from you!