I bought a wooden pirate ship kit on clearance a few weeks ago. I knew the kids would love it and that it would come in handy for a Monday project. When it was brought out today, it was met with much cheering.
Until we discussed how to decorate it.
Alyssa wanted it to look just like the picture on the box, complete with stripes across the sides. Jake wanted to paint it all brown since the stripes would be difficult to execute. Back and forth they went, stripes - solid - stripes - solid - stripes - solid. Neither one would waver. They looked to me to tell them what to do. Nope, this was one thing they needed to figure out for themselves, teamwork and compromise.
Ten minutes later . . . . solid - stripes - solid - stripes - solid. I continued to let them work it out. Finally, there was a slight compromise. Alyssa decided to cave on the stripes. And then we had a new clash, pink and purple - brown and black - pink and purple - brown and black.
Five minutes into the new debate, when they both started to get frustrated, I realized that they weren't going to come to an agreement on their own. I went back to my supply of craft kits and grabbed another. I suggested that Jake paint and assemble the pirate ship by himself and Alyssa make the sand art kit by herself. Both kids were happy. And so was mommy.
Jake looked at the pieces, looked at the box, and said, "That's easy enough for me to do by myself."
And assembled it in no time. Without asking for help. Without looking at any directions. I think he needs more of a challenge.
He even painted a skeleton on the stern of the ship.
Yes, I totally Googled that.
Alyssa gets giddy about most art projects.
Who said my kids could grow up anyway???
And it was so pretty!
Until she decided to shake the whole thing up. Over and over again. Smiling and laughing and dancing around the house. It's not how I would have done it, but it's what made my little girl happy. And she was quite proud of herself.
So, what I expected to be a learning situation for the kids turned into a learning situation for me. Sometimes, compromise doesn't have to mean 2 people coming to a single decision about 1 thing. It can mean 2 people doing 2 different things when a reasonable conclusion can't be reached. They each had very different ideas of how the kit should have been done. If I made them each paint part of the ship how they wanted, neither would have been happy. If I told them it had to be done according to one of their plans, the other would have been upset. By giving them another option, they were both happy and enjoyed the craft.