January 30, 2006

Bean possibilities … working with kids

Filed under: beanquest, soccer — Brian @ 2:57 am

I keep lots of stuff on 3 x 5 index cards. I have a little file box for the active ones, and in there is a tab marked, “Ideas.” This is where I keep reminders of things I might develop further, things to write about, things to think about – things that are not completely developed, but might be something worth remembering.

And, since I forget *everything,* I write them down here.

One of them that I keep picking out and wondering over says, “why am I not working with kids?”

I have two kids of my own – boys, 6 and 3. I love to spend time with them. I love to expose them to different things and watch them figure stuff out.

The older one is very much like me; very similar interests and abilities. We have a lot in common. Chances are good that if something is interesting to me, it’ll be interesting to him, too.

The younger is very much different – he’s less of a builder or experimenter, and more of a story-teller. He likes to set up elaborate scenes for his stuffed animals and then work through a scenario. Favorite topics are picnics and “playing sleep,” where everyone makes up a bed, and gets under the covers. (We don’t stay still, because we have to make sure everyone is situated correctly, and it’s so far impossible to get it just right.) That’s not the kind of thing I’d do on my own, but I love to do it with him – to see how he thinks and to watch him get excited about creating.

So, of course I love my boys. But they’re different enough from each other, and from me, that I think there may be something more general-purpose there in me. I like the idea of helping kids find their strengths and helping them learn to push themselves to develop them. I like seeing them excited about something and getting excited about it with them. And I like to think that it’s not very important what “it” is – only that it’s something the kid is excited about, and something I can help explore.

I like the prospect of being a teacher someone remembers fondly as having been an eye-opener or boundary-pusher, of course. But I like even more the prospect of just being involved in the lives of some young people who could use a person who wants to be involved.

We signed up my older son for soccer with the park district. We (and quite a few other parents) got an e-mail back saying he couldn’t participate, because there weren’t enough volunteer coaches for as many kids as signed up. So I volunteered to coach. As it happens, that’s the qualification for 6-year-old soccer team coach: did you volunteer? Great – you’re hired. Here’s your team.

It’s like a 7 week season – one practice a week, one game a weekend. I’ll have a team of 11 or 12 boys (including my son). I have been so very excited since I signed up. The season doesn’t start ’til spring, but I’m already having a great time thinking of things we can do at practice. Things to build a sense of ‘team’ in them, and things I can do notice each kid’s skill and interest level, so I can do something to keep them all interested.

This, I realized after volunteering, is a perfect chance to try out this possible bean.


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