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Second Childhood: Making Beads

I think I was a kid once cause I’ve seen the pictures. But until this project, it’d been a long time since I’ve done kid stuff or allowed myself to just fall flat on my face while learning something new.

I was thinking that parents out there have a built-in reason to do cool kid stuff: to share a learning experience with their daughters and sons. Turned out I wasn’t blessed with my own kids, but I’m thinking most parents are out there probably earning lots of these badges without realizing it, just by doing really fun stuff with their offspring that they might not otherwise do.

This was a big arty/crafty week for me. And while I was working on a few projects, I was wondering what kind of mom I’d have been. Would I have been like my sister and my friend Lizzie (both Virtual Troop Leaders, I might add)? I remember Lizzie and Vic spending lots of time with their children in creative pursuits and thinking those were some lucky kids. Would I have pulled out the paints a couple of times a week for me and my children? Would we have made up songs together? I hope so.

But I think there’d have been a BIG difference between doing these activities with my child versus doing them by and for myself.

As a mom, for better or worse, I think I’d have viewed it all through the lens of a teacher; even if I’d never made a piece of jewelry in my life, the focus would’ve been on helping my experience learning–not me. But here by myself, I get to try all this stuff through the lens of a student, or at least a big kid.

Right now, there are works-in-progress out there for a few badges, and the full updates will come when the tasks have been completed. But here’s a couple of shots of the very first beads I’ve ever made, finished today for some upcoming jewelry and macrame tasks:

Some are decidedly lovelier than others, and you sure won’t see me opening an Etsy shop any time soon, but I just loved making them.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to construct my first kite. Amazing to a lot of you that I’ve never made a kite, I know. But if it takes fifty years to learn something, then I guess that’s what it takes.


3 thoughts on “Second Childhood: Making Beads

  1. Jean, you make a great point about the difference between doing activities with a child, and doing them yourself. When we do outdoor training (to ensure adults have the skills and experience necessary to take girls on campouts), we tell the adults they are girls for the weekend. We want them to experience things as if they were children. But with each thing they learn, after they learn it, we then want them to think about how to teach it. And, we tell them to model the behavior they want to see from the kids.

    For example, when they build a fire for the first time, it’s an amazing thing. Not only do they build a fire (many of them for the first time in their lives), but they cook 2 meals over the fire. When I see a grown woman succeed in building and starting an A-frame fire for the first time, the increase in confidence is palpable. I then ask them to imagine how they would feel as an 8-year old, knowing that if needed, they could build a fire to boil water, or cook, or keep warm, or signal for help. The independence that conveys is very empowering. The same applies to learning to tie knots, or to use a pocket knife, or to cook a meal, or to change a tire…all things I learned in Girl Scouts.

    However, on the flip side, when I see an adult reach over the fire to pick up a pan without a pot holder, and they say, “well, I had only just put it there, and I knew it wasn’t hot yet, ” I tell them, “yes, but would a child watching you know that you had JUST put it there and it had not had enough time to get hot?” Kids don’t have the benefit (or curse) of context when we teach them something…and we have to remember as adults to provide an appropriate context.

    It changes the equation when you are not just doing, but teaching. And whether we realize it or not, whenever we are interacting with children, we are teaching…for better or worse.

    I think as an adult, having the opportunity to learn something new in a safe environment, where it’s OK to fail, is very important, and it provides the context that can be used to properly frame your “lessons” for kids. Yea for new neural pathways!

    In addition, let me just say I really like the beads you made, particularly the maroon/green/white ones. I want to learn how to make beads!

  2. I used to make kites for my kids. We lived in West Texas and the ground was so hard and full of cactus that if paper kite hit the ground, it was toast so I made them out of cloth and the kids used markers to make whatever design they wanted. Have fun with yours.

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