Recently we had a conversation around the home ed table that got me thinking, and inspired this post. My DDs (who finally have names, BTW). There’s a lot of back-story here, so please forgive me if I ramble just a little.
What it boils down to is that, when I correct the girls’ work, they don’t enjoy it. It’s not how I say what I say. It’s what I say, and the fact that I say it at all. The fault is mine: until we started home education I really never saw the role of trainer as mine. I thought I did, but the truth is that I was far more focused on making them feel good about themselves, and helping them see themselves as the awesome beings I see when I look at them.
Of course, now my job is different. I still need to make them feel good about themselves, but it is also my job to ensure that they become the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be. However, no matter how gentle I try to be, they don’t like to be corrected at all. Whatever they deliver, having been delivered by them, is obviously perfect in and of itself. (I confess to sharing this attitude a little bit, and it has been a large part of my life’s work to change that).
This week I explained to them about diamonds. When you take a diamond out of the ground, it’s ugly. In fact, often it resembles little more than a muddy bit of rock. You need to wash it. When it’s clean, it still doesn’t look like much. You now need to get rid of all the bits of it that don’t look like the diamond you have in mind. You have to cut and shape it. This is called “editing” when it relates to written work. Finally, you have to rub it, polish it, shine it up to get that beautiful, crystalline, reflective gem that is so valuable and priceless – not to mention super strong.
Along the way you will, no doubt, have lost a lot of diamond. But none of that has worth; it’s only when we’ve refined it that it has worth and meaning. This is the same as any work we do. I explained to the girls that their work, to me, is like priceless diamonds, but if I don’t help them by editing, polishing, shaping the work, it will never shine like the precious gem it is.
So now we no longer ask: “what do you think?”. We say, “how can this be better?”
I know this is probably pretty obvious, but it really had an impact, and seemed to help them a lot.