Make Them Find Out For Themselves

It would be easy to give them all the answers. It’s even fun to give them the answers. It would make things go faster, smoother and let you get back to what you were doing. But you can’t. You just can’t.

We’ve said before that the goal is to try to raise kids who know how to figure things out. What does that mean? It means you have to let them figure things out.

John Stuart Mill would recall that in his own unique childhood education, which was supervised by his father, “anything which could be found out by thinking I was never told, until I had exhausted my efforts to find it out for myself.” It’s not that his father never helped him—like some homeschooling Bean Dad (which we have criticized before)—it’s that he encouraged his son to take a crack at it first. More than encouraged, he let him struggle with it, let him not know until he either learned or learned how to learn. The boy had to try and fail before he came to the rescue.

Luctor et emergo, remember? Struggle and they emerge? We have to make them understand that they have what it takes to do this on their own and if they don’t, the best way to get it is to develop it by experience, by curiosity and exploration. We hold some of our answers back not because we don’t love them but because we love them so much. We let them struggle because we believe in them and because we believe even more in what will come out the other side.

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