Excitement Is Contagious
- Friday, September 27, 2002
Excitement is contagious! There is nothing more fun than seeing my children get excited about something I want them excited about.
For example, if I want my children to get excited about doing something educational then I need to get excited about it myself. When we were studying Ancient Rome, we were totally absorbed in the study partly because of my own excitement about studying something that was completely new to me.
I used to think long ago that the only way I could teach my children a topic was if I actually knew the topic well myself. What I discovered though was that I could actually inspire my children to want to learn if I didn’t know the topic and wanted to learn all about it myself. The excitement was infectious!
I have discovered there are quite a few topics in which I had learned next-to-nothing about while in school. Fortunately, my parents instilled in me a love for learning. Now that I have time in which to explore the world around me I find myself excited about many topics. I'm hoping to pass that excitement on to my children. Often they will show me they are indeed developing a love to learn.
Ashley just the other day told me that she would love to learn Spanish. It was just the phrase I was waiting for with her. I went to my library and pulled off the shelf all the Spanish programs I had collected over the years. We discussed them and she chose the one she thought would be the most enjoyable, but also covered areas she wanted to be sure were covered. Her desire was not simply to learn Spanish to get a credit on her transcript, but so she could communicate effectively with Spanish speaking individuals. Her fire had been ignited.
I've learned with Cathy that she doesn’t want to be fed a bunch of facts. She gets excited about learning history when the people and places seem to become a part of her. For her, reading historical fiction is a great way to inspire her to want to delve deeper into an historical time period or event.
Again, she often feeds off of my excitement. Occasionally I've had to manufacture my own excitement, but even that can be infectious.
Just today I excitedly mentioned to Erica that she needed to get ready so she could go with Mommy to get immunized. She began jumping up and down with excitement.
Her older sister looked at her in a quizzical way which caused Erica to ponder why she was giving her a funny look.
Cathy then said, "Do you know what 'immunized' means?"
To which Erica replied, "No, but I get to go with Mom!"
Someone else then informed her that she was going to the doctor to get a shot. Her eyes grew wide, then she shouted, "Hurrah! I love getting shots!"
Not to be outdone by his sister, Bryan excitedly proclaimed, "I want to go get shots, too!"
Poor Bryan was so disappointed to learn that today was not to be his day for shots. However, we encouraged him by telling him that it wouldn't be too much longer and he, too, would be able to get his shots.
On the drive to the doctor for her shots, Erica began to get a bit apprehensive. I shared with her why we immunize our children. I also told her why some people do not. She was quite joyful on the 15-minute trek to the location.
Immediately upon our arrival we heard a baby scream. "Poor baby, said Erica. "It's too bad babies don't know they get a lollypop after it's all over with." The light bulb went on. That's why she was so excited. She knew the pain would last but for a moment then she would get a lollypop.
It only took a moment for her name to be called. As the nurses told me about the new law that all children in our state had to be immunized for Hepatitis B, I became a bit agitated with that information. I'm not the type of parent who likes my parental authority mandated by the state. We talked at length about the new law and I let them know, in a nice way of course, that I thought it was wrong.
Finally it came time for Erica to get her shots. She smiled and said, "I know this is going to hurt. But Mom said we would count to fifty and the pain would be over by then. Fifty isn’t too bad."
One of the nurses then said, "You can count to fifty?"
Erica, with her adorable expression said, "Of course I can! I can count to one hundred! And sometimes I can count to two hundred! But I don't need to count that high because it isn’t going to hurt that long."
I held her close on my lap. As the nurse prepared her arm, I thought about crying. But I knew that wouldn't help matters at all. I began to count in Erica's ear. We didn't even get to ten and the shots were finished, on that arm. Erica with a catch in her voice said, "I didn't like that too much."
Again I held her close and began to count for her. After she was all finished she smiled at the nurse and said, "Thank you for my immunization." We chuckled. The nurse handed her a lollypop and all was right with her world.
On the way home I asked her how she felt about the experience. I wanted to know if it helped that I counted for her. She said, "Yes, all that helped, but it made me more scared because you kept talking. I didn't think I was ever going to get my lollypop!"
I think my excitement for her helped her undergo an unpleasant task, just as we can build excitement in our children so they can do their work with enjoyment. It does help to occasionally bribe them with a lollypop too.
Listen to Terri's weekly broadcast for home schoolers at www.thepathhome.com.
In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Website at www.ignitethefire.com or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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