Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The myth of the teachable moment

One mantra of homeschooling, and perhaps motherhood in general, revolves around the teachable moment. I have even said it myself, that we need to look for and capitalize on those teachable moments. People often view these as rare moments when the window of influence opens in our children’s minds. We must remain ever diligent to jump on these opportunities to pour into their life while they soak it all up like a sponge.

The other day I realized that I need to stop talking about and thinking in terms of teachable moments. Because these “moments” really last for 18 years, and beyond. Every moment that we have to interact with our child becomes a teachable moment.

This epiphany struck me during a brief 5 minute interaction with my three year old. We continue to work through potty training with this one (after four others you would think I would have this down, but, no . . .) In those short five minutes our conversation covered hygiene, patience, consideration of others, obedience, maturity, and self care either in speech or behavior. This was obviously about far more than potty training.

Was my three year old asking for information on preferring others?


Did he really want to learn about patience?


Did he want to practice dressing himself?


Yet, the moment wreaked of teaching, passing on character and godliness and practical life lessons, all in the midst of potty training.

Each moment we spend with our children we teach them. Our attitude, our choices, our reactions, our directions, our clothing, our habits, our schedules, our priorities, our conversation, our curriculum, our answers, our questions, our glances, our mistakes, our consistencies, our forgiveness, our sin, our love, our faithfulness, our attention. The list goes on.

Whether we would classify it as a teachable moment or not, every time they watch us or listen to us we teach them something.

Is it a teachable moment? Here is a quick test.

If you are in the proximity of a child, ask yourself the following questions:

- Can you talk?

- Can you move your body?

- Can you make facial expressions?

- Are you awake?

If you can answer 'yes' to any of these questions, you can be pretty certain you are in a teachable moment . . .

What are you teaching today?

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