Shannon Philpott

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching

Parenting Lessons: The Teachable Moments

Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 9.26.10 AMPublished July 2014: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

Parenting Lessons: The Teachable Moments

As a teacher, I crave those teachable moments in life. From a tidbit online to help with my writing to an eye-opening experience in the classroom, I’ve committed to be a lifelong learner. What I never expected, though, is that parenting offers me the most opportunity for those ‘aha’ moments and I’ve learned more about love, life and faith as a parent than in any other role in life I have.

My children will be the first to share that I love to teach. When we are sitting down for dinner, I ask them to evaluate their day, think critically about the events or lessons in school and share the positive experiences. When we are driving in the car and they seem upset about something, I try and ask questions to get them thinking about how to handle the situation. As they often tell me, it’s annoying to have a mother who is both a teacher and a reporter. The questions never stop.

As much as I strive for my children to learn from these teachable moments, the irony is that I have learned much more from my budding teenagers than they have probably learned from me.

Here are just a few tidbits I have learned this week alone:

Timing is everything: I can ask my daughter the same question at two different times of the day and get the same answer, but in two very different manners. For example, if I ask her what is wrong when she returns home from school and she is stressed and tired, she is more likely to utter a “Nothing, mom. Stop prying,” whereas if I ask the same question later in the evening while sprawled out on the floor in her room with the television on, she is more likely to tell me what tragedy or triumph she had to cope
with during the day.

Know When to Stop: My son often reminds me that I am not a reporter at home. My endless questions drive him crazy. So, I’ve learned that two questions at a time is the limit and I have to make those questions count. A simple “How was school?” will prompt a one-word response whereas a “How was the algebra test?” may help me to gather more information and reduce his level of irritation with his nosey mom.

Trust Your Instincts and Your Children: It’s difficult to sit back and watch your child suffer when a friend has betrayed his trust or a boy doesn’t text her back, but I have realized that I can’t fix every little obstacle for my children. I’ve learned to trust my gut and have faith in my children’s abilities to navigate through dilemmas. If I feel they are in danger, I will definitely step in, but as they get older, I’ve learned to let them navigate the rough waters on their own, always knowing I’m here for support when they need me.

The lessons are fast and fierce and the ‘aha’ moments have opened my eyes to ways I need to trust my faith and my children more. But, as a teacher, it’s refreshing to sit back and take on the role of the student as the parenting lessons continue to grace my  life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

— Shannon Philpott

Read More Fresh Takes on Faith HERE
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July 31, 2014 - Posted by | Newspaper Writing, Opinion, Sample Work | , , ,

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