I taught a puppetry class on Friday and am reminded, as always, at how much better 1st graders are at following directions than adults. In general, I find that adults tend to think that they know how to do something or can figure it out on their own and will jump ahead without waiting for instructions.
Kids will also do that, but with them it’s more a matter of being so excited about the project that they just want to dive in immediately. But they’ll actually stop and listen to the instructions. And if they don’t know how to do something, they’ll let you know instead of being embarrassed about their lack of knowledge.
Now, in general, I’m a big believer in showing kids how to do a thing and then letting them do it on their own. Frequently, they’ll say, “I don’t know how,” or “It’s hard.” Grownups will do the same thing. But kids… if you tell a kid, “Yes, it is hard, and it was hard the first time I did it too. It just takes practice,” then they’ll actually try it.
Grownups tend to get disgusted and give up faster and they should really know better. Plus, you know, when a grownup misbehaves, you can’t give them a time out, no matter how much you might want to.