Friday, March 11, 2011

The Teach-Able Moment

Mr. Face-Plant

We went hiking last weekend. By ‘we’, I mean my wife and our 8 year old grandson.

My step-daughter just had her third child last month and in order to give the proud new parents quality time with ‘Bubba #2’, the wife and I agreed to take ‘Bubba #1’ off their hands for one weekend a month. Bubba #1 is named “Connor” and the wife and I are determined to give the little tyke some real world experience outside the Cartoon Network and his iPod Touch.

So we decided to take him hiking in a Phoenix Park to look for a Geocache. For those that don’t know what Geocaching is, go to the website and read up on it. In a nutshell, it is using a GPS device to find a hidden container. Sort of like high-tech treasure hunting. It teaches a lot of skills, such as math, spacial coordination, problem solving and exercise. Things that you just can’t get from a video game.

So we set off on a mile long hike along a rocky path in a Phoenix Mountain preserve with our GPS units. Connor was busy working off all his hyper 8 year old energy, chattering away, looking at the scenery and generally having a grand old time. So much so, that I could tell he was not paying attention.

So we stopped hiking and sat him down for a ‘teach-able’ moment. We explained to him that the wilderness is a dangerous place. The rocks are sharp, there are lizards and snakes, and if he falls down and sprains and ankle or breaks a bone, there is no one there that can help him in the short term. In short, we impressed upon him how dangerous the wilderness is and that he had to ‘focus’ on where he was going and what he was doing.

Being all of 8 years old, he listened and then forgot what we told him in about 3 minutes. Once again, he was lolly-gagging along the trail, not looking where he was going and not paying attention. We stopped and corrected him several times along the way and told him to ‘focus’ on what he was doing and where he was going.

After finding the geocache, we headed back to the parking lot along the same route that we came. About ⅓ of the way back, while Connor was jabbering away and looking off at the horizon, his left foot slipped on a rock, his right foot tripped over another rock and you guessed it......FACE-PLANT right into the trail. No sooner did his face (literally) bite the dust, than he started whaling and crying. The wife and I just stood there for a second with the classic, “This is what happens when you don’t listen.” look on our face.

Bubba #1 was no worse for wear after the spill and forgot all about it 10 minutes later as he continued down the trail.....still not focusing.

When you fail playing a video game, you just hit the reset button. When you fail in real hurts.

We need to take Connor hiking more often.

See more of the adventure here.