About one year ago, my sons and I went ice-skating. It was the first time on the ice for my then 8-year-old son Tyson. He was having a blast with his brother and cousins. I was nervous because he kept falling, but he did not seem to mind. He would get up, brush himself off, and continue having fun.
Then, he had a different kind of fall. He was using one of those walker-type things, and because he was hanging on to that with his hands, he wasn’t able to catch himself and he fell on his head this time. I was right by him, watching the fall in what seemed like slow-motion.
He got up almost immediately, I inspected him, but he seemed fine and he wanted to keep skating. However, after a few minutes, he started complaining of a bad headache and we decided we better head home. On the way home, he became lethargic, and his brother worked hard to keep him awake. We took him to urgent care because I was afraid that he had a concussion.
To make a long story shorter, we ended up at the children’s hospital, with Tyson throwing up in the lobby. He had a CT scan, and diagnosed with a mild concussion. We left a few hours later when his condition was much improved.
The situation completely freaked us all out. I wasn’t sure if we would go ice skating again as a family. But today, Tyson got back out on the ice.
He decided that he would wear a helmet, and when he first started skating, he was holding on to the railing and moving really slowly. Gradually, he moved away from the side and picked up speed. Before I knew it, he was off skating all over, and I was having a hard time keeping up with him.
Today, Tyson taught me a lesson about learning from failures. Yes, I was so proud of him for ice skating again. More than that was the way he tried again. He learned from his last experience and took precautions with wearing a helmet and staying away from the walker-type support. He tested his skills out by staying close to the railing and going slowly at first. Then, he took off and was an independent skater. Watching him reminded me of what our learners need and the process of learning from failures, gradual release, and gaining competence and confidence.
Here he is skating away from me. Isn’t this what we want for our children and our students…to leave us in the dust?
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