Once your kids reach a certain age, the roles become fuzzy, especially in regard to learning.
My kids have always asked me to review their school papers, and I willingly have. I’m not the type of parent to rewrite what they’ve written, but I do offer commentary and critique and proofreading help when they ask.
It used to be that I was the one teaching them. That has changed. They still ask for my thoughts on what they write. I usually find that their request is more an exercise in confidence building than it is a way for me to teach them how to write better. They are both pretty natural writers. And they’ve worked hard over the years refining their craft. I read their stuff and may have a few suggestions, but overall, they have it figured out.
This afternoon, while reviewing my older daughter’s paper written for an upper level art history course at college, I realized that the tables have turned. I had a few brief critiques but mostly, my commentary was that I knew nothing about the subject before, and now that I’ve read her paper, I feel like I know something about how this particular work of art influenced religious and political ideology and culture during the Middle Ages.
I like to learn new things. I read. I write. I go to lectures. But the learning that takes place when I read what my children are crystallizing in their school assignments is the best kind of learning. It shows me that they have become much more than extensions of their parents. They are people with interests and abilities that they can use to help others to understand the world better.
I know it is not true, but at this moment in time, I feel an overwhelming sense of “my work is done.”
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