Pablo Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”.
It was great to be back in this week. However, by Wednesday it felt as if we had never been away. The children look, older, more mature and ready to learn. The week flew by and I was really pleased when, on my walkabouts, the feel of the school was so purposeful and calm. You could almost hear the buzz of the children’s brains learning away.
This weekend I met up with friends in the Milton Keynes Snow Dome. It’s an odd place. What struck me so powerfully was that in very few places would you see so many people struggling with new learning. Not the children, but adults. Adults who in their day to day lives are probably successful and confident; but here are reduced to jibbering wreaks full of rage and tears. As one girl, (I say girl, she was about 40) was escorted shame faced from one slope to the remedial slope while her more able friends looked on so she could have some individual tuition to help her ‘catch up’. I felt a pang of recognition. I was once that girl. But If she takes the walk of shame and sticks to it she will overcome.
As adults we forget, and actively avoid, having to learn anything we might find difficult. We don’t often come face to face with things we cannot do; we have hugely complex systems to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of not being good at something. We are almost never in a position where we have someone telling us that we must try and try again. Your children deal with this every day.
Daily they will find things that will challenge them and they will learn to embrace them. They will accept that some things are more difficult than others and they will be better and more successful at the things they find easier. I hope they find the pleasure in conquering the difficult. The pride in achieving something that took time, effort and resilience. For these habits of mind will serve them a lifetime. Being able to go back and try again and stick at something for the sake of personal pride and satisfaction.
That Girl will not become an Olympic skier, she won’t find fame and fortune on the slopes. The best she can hope for, if personal experience is anything to go by, is to look slightly less ungainly than a highly un-coordinated duck, but she will achieve something.
It does us good to remember how difficult learning can be. Will you lead by example this year and try and learning something new? Show your children that you too are prepared to get up and try, try again.