Don’t Fear the Teacher

by Idaho Dad on November 20, 2012

When my son was learning to ride his bike, he was afraid of falling down and getting hurt. So I always made sure to run along with him while he was figuring out how to do all those complicated bike things at the same time, like pedaling, steering, braking, and balancing.

I never let him fall.

A dad I know scolded me. He said, “You have to fall down and get hurt to learn to ride a bike.”

This is the same dad who also once told me, “Bullying is good for your kids. It toughens them up for the real world.”

I have never subscribed to the theory that personal growth must somehow involve pain. In all my years of education, I don’t ever remember having to suffer through torture and injury in order to learn something new. Oh wait, I forgot. Grad school! So, there is an exception.

I can just imagine what homeschooling might look like in this other dad’s house:

“Kids, today I want to teach you how to solve a polynomial equation. First, factor out the greatest common denominator. Good. Next, stab yourself in the elbow with your pencil. Nicely done.”

Children don’t need fear and suffering to learn. They need encouragement, contentment, and love.

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