The afterschoolers and I went for a walk on the "secret trail" a little while ago. Everyone was climbing on the big mounds of dirt and rock piled in the middle of the soon to be road except for one child. I noticed this child laying on the ground so I quietly walked over and saw that she was digging around a large rock. I was there for a little bit before she looked up at me and said, "I'm going to get this rock out and make the biggest splash ever." I nodded and she went back to work. I saw her taking different rocks and sticks she had lined up to help dig. "These are all my tools to help me get the rock out. There's cutting rocks and digging sticks."
I smiled and yet again she continued to work away at her task. Every few minutes she would try to push this rock out either by pushing it with her hands or sitting and trying to use her feet.
To see the effort she was putting in to this was unbelievable. I could see how bad she wanted to get that rock out of the dirt and I wanted nothing more but to help her, but I didn't; I refused. There are two reasons I refused to help.
1. She didn't ask for my help
2. She was working incredibly hard who was I to take away her accomplishment?
When I said it was time to go I thought she would be upset because she hadn't achieved her goal yet but all she said was "can we come back again?" I promised we would, so a little while later we walked down to the "secret spot" once again.
Right to the rock she went and everything was just how she left it. Eventually other children came over and started to help. They brought over tools and worked as a team trying to push the rock out.
Once they had more hands the rock eventually broke in half and they all went crazy cheering. In no time at all they finally got the rock out of the dirt and into the water.
I found myself cheering along with them just as much, and was so excited they were able to get it out. I was happy I didn't interrupt their process and allowed them to achieve their goal all on their own. It's easy being an adult to just step in and help a child do something. It's important to take a step back and think if it's something they should actually be doing for themselves. No, they might not always be able to do it, but it's all part of learning. Children are more than capable to do amazing things as long as they have the opportunity to try for themselves.
- Leslie Dionne