Finally, we were getting a handle on classroom issues – raising the hand was a big one – and facial recognition was a thing of the past… when Organization reached out and slapped us in the face.
It felt like that, anyway.
Suddenly, how to handle objects well – arranging, sorting and the like – became the new challenge. How does one build a pyramid that doesn’t collapse? Sort a drawer full of junk? How about putting folders and books into a desk?
Usually I can handle it. I love to think of new games and ways to approach a challenge. But organization? That’s the stuff of nightmare.
To begin with, I pointed out that the bulky, heavy stuff had to go on the bottom. When he looked confused, we then had to talk about consequences like crushed bread, broken eggs, and the like.
Watching him arrange the bags was difficult. My hands itched to set things right.
Then we walked through the next set of goodies, whether they could be stacked or not, and where to place them. We did, after all, have a limited amount of room, and a lot of groceries.
It was hard not to take over and do it myself. Strangely difficult watching my son lift the groceries and place them in the car while doing nothing. And oh, I wanted to rearrange that pile. To fix the steak I knew would go sliding off the top.
Cart put away, doors closed and seatbelts on, we agreed that the ultimate test of arranging the pile would be the end result. Would it look the same when we got home? Would we hear crashing and sliding and chaotic disaster during the trip?
Today, I no longer remember how that first trip turned out. I know that he’s learned – after many trial runs and much experimentation – how to stack difficult objects, some hard and awkward, others soft and squishy.
He’s also learned how to fill a space; to think ahead, and put things thoughtfully into that space. He’s begun to care about the result, too, and to take pride in his work.
And I’ve learned some self-restraint. A lesson I didn’t know I needed.
Take the Grocery Challenge. Let your child – or children – plan, organize, and arrange. Sure, they made need help with the heavier items, but don’t they love taking control, anyway?
You may want to secretly hide the eggs. 😉
Note: Thank you, Kaela, for your interesting, unconventional – and yet oh so practical – advice!