Parental Coaching

Elmo Slippers (thanks to Derek Smith)

Elmo Slippers (thanks to Derek Smith)

So, I’m sitting in Logan airport, waiting for my flight to St. Louis and my eye is captured by a mother with a gorgeous little boy, wearing Elmo slippers. They are waiting for the same flight.  In his restlessness, the boy wanders over to a bank of pay phones and his Mom patiently attends him, showing him how to make a phone call.  “You hold the black thing to your ear and put your money in this place.”  Listening to her tutorial tunes me into other parental conversations around me.  Percolating up through my tired haze (it is 6:00 am, afterall) come a collection of expressions from the parents in my vicinity. As I’m listening they weave together to form a tutoring tapestry.  “Don’t forget your backpack.”….”Bless you!” … “I can see, yes, that’s where all your luggage goes.” … “Look how BIG that plane is!  How do you think it stays up in the air?”…”We’re going on that plane over there.” ….”Thank you, what a big helper you are!”…

Amazing, the countless ways parents guide and coach their children.  What’s safe, what’s expected, what’s coming, what’s smart (and not so).  When do you think that stream of parental coaching will include things like….”Let’s talk about what’s appropriate to put up on Facebook”….”How do you think you might find out about that?”….”Let’s find someone online to ask…”….”How about creating a video to explain that?”

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