I was trying to look for opportunities to build more self esteem for my 5 year old. He is bright and smart and very capable but sometimes he is very hard on himself and not willing to try new things. In many opportunities, he compares himself with his older brother or other older children. Being the youngest is hard sometimes because the youngest children feel like they have to keep up with everybody at the same level even though they may not be ready physically or emotionally YET. Youngest children end up being very hard on themselves. They have big expectations and sometimes don’t even try because they are afraid to fail.
Saturday morning my older son went to his soccer game with Dad and I stayed home with my 5 year old. There was a dinosaur picture on the table and he asked me if I could try to draw it. I sat down with him and he started to draw with me. He got very frustrated because the picture was very hard for him. There was a lot of “I can’t” and “I am bad at this”. Then came “I am not good at this” and then the inevitable throwing of the pencil, ripping of the paper and all of that. I thought to myself, “YES! This is a great teaching opportunity for me and I can't let it go”. So I suggested: Why don’t we try to draw an easier dinosaur? I sat down with 2 pencils and 2 papers and searched on Youtube: (I am not good at drawing, so I had to find a better tool.) I searched “How to draw an easy dinosaur”.
I was so lucky to find the perfect video for us in this moment. There was this dad teaching his son step-by-step how to draw a dinosaur with shapes. The best part about it was that the boy in the video was 3 years old! When my son started to draw along with me, the dad, and the boy in the video, he noticed his dinosaur was better than the dinosaur of the little boy in the video. FInally, he was not comparing himself with bigger children! He had another point of reference that was not his older brother, me or my husband. He got very excited. He wanted to keep trying and every drawing was better and better. We sat there for almost an hour drawing and drawing more and more pictures. As we drew, I lined up the pictures from the first drawing we made to the last one. I told him, ”I want to show you something”. I said, “Look! Look at these cool pictures. What do you see?” And he said, “I did it!” “Yes you did it. What else?”, I said. “The pictures got better every time.” He said. And I said, “Yes they did, you started with lines. You kept practicing. You improved more and more and everytime they looked better and better”. In my country we say: “The practice makes the master". There are a lot of things you can not do YET. Trying and practicing just gets you where you want to be. I said, “I am so proud of you today for being persistent and doing your best.”.
He had a huge smile on his face and I did too, because I took the time to teach and I also learned how to draw a dinosaur.
Here is the link for the dinosaur video if you want to draw one too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ2h6W4YVz0