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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

The Mercenary gets annoyed with me – routinely – because I insist on working through problems step by step whenever he gets stuck on things in school. Drives him crazy! He is a person who hates systematic approaches to things, and would much rather just stare at a page and wait for the answer to leap up at him. I’ve noticed that if I bug him enough though, he does incorporate my techniques eventually.

Word searches for example. He used to get so angry when he couldn’t find the words immediately, but at the same time resisted any of the strategies I suggested to solve the problem. Even if I called them ‘tricks’ or ‘shortcuts’. However. When we do word searches now, I’ve caught him going row by row across the puzzle, or searching for the less common letters to find the words.

He also gets massively irritated when I won’t tell him the answer or give hints without walking through the whole thought process of the problem from beginning to end. I’ve told him a couple of times recently that I want him to know how to do it by himself, and not be stuck relying on me for answers.

Yesterday Captain Earthquake wanted to play a video game while the older boys were trying to do their math. So The Mercenary took him down to the little TV to hook up the game, allowing us to work in peace. He took longer than I expected to return so I asked what he’d been doing.

That was when he explained that he’d stopped to teach the little guy how to plug in the game so that he’d have the skill to do it himself from now on.

You can imagine his surprise when I celebrated wildly.

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Photo courtesy of smcgee, via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.