Our local library has done it again: ignited my 6 year-old’s fervor for a new creative project. Thanks to one of their recent display, this time it’s fairy gardens.
Armed with books, photos, and an entire under-the-stairs nook of sundries she has squirreled away, she literally dug in, starting with removing old flowers:
As she concluded phase one, she announced: “I am awesome. I have a cute brain. I know how to make things. I’ve been practicing, and when I grow up, I will teach everyone that I know how to make a fairy ring.”
It’s the kind of confidence you wish you could store up in bottles and give away to all.
Later that day, I participated in a trending Twitter hashtag, #IfICouldMakeTimeStandStill, with my daughter’s earlier declaration still on my mind:
#IfICouldMakeTimeStandStill [teacher edition] We’d return to when your curiosity/confidence was untainted by grades/carrots&sticks. #edchat
— Mary (@HonorsGradU) March 20, 2017
I have seen it with too many of my 5th graders, who’d often been expert hoop-jumpers for so long by that point that they were initially baffled by any suggestion to take more ownership over their learning. To imagine my daughter’s beautiful innate curiosity and confidence to be similarly reduced almost brings physical pain.
But before I sink fully into despair at what might be, I cling to the places I find hope.
I find hope in the growing research on the growth mindset and how beautifully resilient we as humans can be.
I find hope in the many teachers who are dedicated to changing their practices and giving their students greater voice and choice over their own learning.
I find hope in witnessing how, even when our confidence seems all but extinguished by human judgement and shame, we still manage to reignite curiosity, confidence, and creativity, forged anew with our life experiences.
And I find hope in knowing that greater heights yet unimagined await both my daughter and I as we engage, encourage, and dream together. Which reminds me, I have some fairy gardening to do…
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto