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Less Is More – And Letting Go of Teens | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Less Is More – And Letting Go of Teens

Good teachers and parents learn as much from their students and children as they teach.

As a speech coach, I’ve had definite ideas of what will and won’t work for speeches and demonstrations. His whole life, my son has confounded my ideas. I’m into detailed plans.

His perspective on the world is different. When he takes photographs of events, he always chooses unique angles no one else considers, and they turn out well. I learned with his photography to back off so he can do it his way.

The same holds true of public speaking. He has that rare gift of taking complex subjects and making them simple. And he sees the value in doing something that is seemingly simple but doing it well. Years ago, when he was a health and safety officer of our Tech Club and gave monthly health reports, I gave up on trying to direct him for topics. Once, his topic was how to safely carry a table and set it up. I would never have chosen such a topic. But he approached it thoroughly and made good points. For years since that report, when I set up tables, I’ve thought of his demonstration and how people often drop tables or put them up incorrectly.

This past week, as he designed a Project Interact – in 4-H we used to call them action demonstrations where you demonstrate something simple that you can repeat over and over again. He chose his own topic:

How to Tie Your Shoes Faster.

I shrugged my shoulders and assumed it would be a total loss. But when he began, he took multiple pairs of shoes with him and started with a calculation of how much time your spend in your life tying your shoes. And then he explained that if you cut that time in half, you save time every single day. Then he demonstrated his shortcut.

He held the audience’s attention. I observed 8 teens happily trying a new way to tie their shoes, laughing and joking as they worked.

It was an effective demonstration of something seemingly simple, but improved.

Never would I have considered a shoe tying demonstration for teenagers, but this worked.

Once again, I learned that less is more. And if I step back from my son whose viewpoint is so unique, and I give him space to do things his way, they work.


Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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