The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 70s who has a grandson in a lower grade of elementary school. The problem is he doesn’t keep at whatever he is asked to try.
For example, he learned how to play soccer and swim, but apparently didn’t like either, so he quit. At the moment, he is learning English once a week.
His parents would like him to learn more things, so they shuttle him off to try new things. Every time he tries something new, he does it well. So, he is told, “No kid does as well as he does right off the bat,” but my grandson doesn’t seem to care.
My grandson enjoys playing outside, but many of his friends have become so busy learning new things that they seem not to be able to play every day. His parents are trying so hard to find something he likes, but it’s just not going well. When I asked my grandson what he likes best, he said he likes making things.
How can his parents help their son find something he likes? Times have changed from when I was raising children, so I’m not sure I can give them good advice.
Z, Osaka Pref.
Dear Ms. Z:
His parents and his grandmother are all desperate to find something new for him to try, but if a person lacks a strong will to learn something, he or she will not take it seriously.
You said your grandson likes making things. I think that’s fantastic. Making things involves using familiar things at hand to create something new, and because of that, you have to really use your body and head. This kind of thinking certainly is useful during disasters. It is an essential skill humans needed to acquire to survive.
This can be said for trying other things, too. It’s not about teaching to a manual; it’s about giving kids the chance to experience new things through trial and error. Children grow through this process. You can’t take away your grandson’s right to doubt, feel lost and worry.
Rather than teaching something, I think you should take advantage of your age. As his grandmother, tell your grandson, for example, about what you did for fun when you were young, something I think he will take to heart much more.