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Two little monkeys jumping on the bed…

We had an interesting learning moment recently. Ethan and Audrey had two of their cousins over for the weekend and we were going to Boonshoft to celebrate a birthday. As I was getting ready minutes before our departure I had left the oldest ones playing Go Fish on the floor. Suddenly the oldest came up to me and asked me to come to the bedroom. They had evidently decided that the card game was boring and moved on to using the air mattress as a trampoline of sorts. You guessed it… they popped it!

I was NOT happy about this as they had be warned numerous times about jumping, bouncing, falling with enthusiasm on the mattress. Of course, “I didn’t do it” was the responsible party because none of the humans in the room were jumping on the air mattress. So our agenda for the day changed suddenly. Instead of the fun, education-filled afternoon at Boonshoft, we learned about the value of a dollar, respect for things that do not belong to you, consequences for your actions, and guilt by association.

1.)    Value of a dollar:

  • We printed play money. We spoke of how much money a person working minimum wage would make and then we discussed the costs of daily living and how much things cost, including an air mattress.
  • We then allowed them to choose tasks that they would do to earn some play money, until they had enough to pay me back the cost.

2.)    Consequences:

  • We cancelled our trip to Boonshoft. We discussed that they chose to disobey the rules; it was not MY decision to bounce on the air mattress.

3.)    Guilt by association:

  • We also discussed that it did not matter which child caused the pop in the air mattress; they each knew what the rules were and they either broke the rule or allowed their friend to break the rule, but they all had to pay the price. We discussed what you can do when someone is doing something that they should not be doing.  We talked about taking action to stop that person or to go and tell an authority figure. We discussed how if you stand by and watch someone doing wrong, even if you yourself are not taking any action, then you will be found guilty.

It was not fun to be the enforcer on this occasion, but now, looking back, I feel that there were valuable lessons to be learned. I will let you know if I get feedback from them in some way realizing that we made a difference.  What has been your most memorable teaching moment so far?

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