Merry Messiness


Christmas threw up in my classroom this week.  I hauled out the boxes of ornaments and decorations, made push pins available, explained how the tree goes together, handed out strings of lights, and sat back to watch the fun .

At the end of the first day, the room was in chaos.  A stepladder stood abandoned in the middle of the room, lights drooped from the middle of one bulletin board, and the tree stood at a rakish angle.  By the end of the second day, the fussier students had straightened everything out.  Our room now glows so brightly that we can work by Christmas lights alone, and our tree is the envy of everyone who stops by.

But the best part is the sense of satisfaction in the room, the feeling of “Yeah, we did that!”  Sure, I might have draped the garland and not wrapped it around the tree, and I would have made sure the light cord fit flush against the wall instead of dangling from the board, but getting it done my way would have benefited only me.

If you’re the kind of parent who wants everything done  “just right,” you’re missing out on an opportunity to build self-confidence at a time when your preteen or teen could use it most.  Choose one or two jobs you can let go of, and let them go at it.

And please – be sure to applaud their efforts!


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