Helping a girl learn she can

April 16, 2012 at 11:04 am 2 comments

Yesterday I spent the day volunteering at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. There are some kids that are just too cute to handle, let me say that.

One of the more popular exhibits is a climbing feature that takes kids up and back down again. It actually goes through the stages of the water cycle, which is pretty cool. Most kids want to try the climbing structure, whether they are probably too young for it or probably a little too big for it. Although I will say, some of the kids who look too small end up surprising me with how daring they are.

Often what happens is that kids start climbing up and then get scared part way to the top. The second to last or so step up is one of the more difficult ones, in addition to being pretty high, so I think that’s why. As volunteers and staff, we have to guide them through it.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of my time helping kids on the strucutre, and one particular little girl (let’s call her Ann) stood out to me. She was probably about 6 years old, although the caveat with that is I am terrible at guessing ages. She was scared as many kids are, and in addition a little afraid of heights in general (according to Ann’s mom). I probably spent a good 10 minutes with her helping her. She kept saying that she was scared and couldn’t do it.

Now listen. Whenever I hear a little girl say she can’t do something, I enter into a rage, Mama-bear style. There is nothing at that moment I wouldn’t do to prove her wrong. And that was definitely the case with Ann yesterday. She went through the stages most kids do – it just took longer. She came down from where she was, contemplated for a few seconds, and decided to try again. I helped clear the structure for her and she started climbing again. She got stuck at the same place and I talked her through it. She came at me with a  lot of what ifs – what if I fall, what if I can’t reach, etc. etc. I told her, of course, that I knew she could do it and encouraged her in many other ways,too.

Eventually, after a lot of coaxing, she made it all the way around.

And, after a high-five, the very next thing she did? Start climbing again. This second attempt took much less time, and although I had to help her a little, she did most of it herself, remembering and learning, seeming visibly more confident already.

I was so excited for Ann. It’s critical that girls shake those feelings of “I can’t do this or that” as soon as possible, and I never want to them to feel less than amazing. Helping Ann was an awesome experience and I hope she feels like she can take on the world now.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. April Wrap Up and May Kickoff « Undefined Ambition  |  May 3, 2012 at 1:47 am

    […] tried to expand my blogging horizon by taking on politics and current events, book reviews, and other things going on in my life. Oh yeah, and I posted my first dinner recipe and turned […]

    Reply
  • […] I’ve written a little about my experiences already, specifically on the climbing apparatus. I’ve had a few more instances where, like the little girl in the original post, kids have been scared to death, but then with some degree of coaxing do it, and are so excited. I don’t think that will ever get old, especially when the kids are more scared than usual. […]

    Reply

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