Being Coachable and Learning When to Step Back – 100 Day Blog Challenge Day 7

The Teacher and The Student


Last night, before they went to bed, I asked my boys what they wanted for breakfast. They all said “Pancakes and Bacon.”  This morning, my 8 year old said, “Mom, would you teach me how to make pancakes?”


They’ve asked me all the time, they get all excited with the measuring and mixing, but then they would usually get tired or bored and go off to do something else.  Today was different.  My oldest REALLY wanted to learn, but I was still a little scared.  But, why?  I mean, when I was his age, not only was I in the kitchen cooking with my Mom, but I was helping raise my younger brother.

So, I willingly allowed him to help, and boy, was he eager.  He got out all the ingredients, the bowl, measuring spoons, pans and whisk.  He was on a pancake making mission.  Things were going really well – he did great with the measuring and he wanted to do the mixing.  I was a little hesitant, so I started it off.  I mean, the batter was full and some of it was stuck to the bottom – he may have had a hard time getting it all mixed…

One is ready to grow up, while the other is just not quite there yet.

The time came to start cooking the pancakes.  He didn’t want to pour the batter in the pan, but he wanted to do the flipping.  He did his first flip, and part of it landed on the edge of the pan.  He got upset.  I told him, it was fine, he did a good job and the pancake was still edible.  We went through this process for a bit, and by the time all was said and done, he managed to flip 12 pancakes with some minor hiccups.

He was proud of himself for helping, and I was proud of myself for not being too controlling.  My 5 year old wanted in on the action as well, so he got to flip the last pancake and the look of joy on his face was just priceless.

When all was said and done, we made 20 pancakes, scrambled eggs and turkey bacon for Saturday breakfast.  It was a joint effort, and a fun time was had by all.  They loved it so much, they wanted breakfast for dinner.  There’s nothing left of that food.

I just wish I had taken a picture of it all.  Oh well, next time.

This experience got me to thinking about what it means to be coachable, willing to learn and allow others to do for themselves.  As a Mom, I know that as my boys get older, they will be able to take on more responsibilities around the house, including cooking.  The fact that they are so eager to learn makes the process a little easier, but that protective instinct in me tends to kick into overdrive on some occasions.

I don’t want them to get hurt – or in this case, burned.
It’s difficult in the beginning.
It can be overwhelming.
They will make mistakes.
They will learn from those mistakes.
They will get better each time.

For my oldest, when he flipped that first pancake and it didn’t come out perfect, he was devastated.  To him, it was the end of the world, but I had to keep reassuring him that it was fine and he did a good job.  That little bit of encouragement made the difference and he did get better along the way.  He was also real excited because he got to turn on the burner.  That was like the Holy Grail of cooking for him at that point.

In life, we are always a work in progress, and we should be willing to learn from others.  As adults, this can be a challenge, for some. We’re set in our ways; we’re used to doing things a certain way; we’re in a rush and want to get it done right now.

Wait a sec…it’s the same mentality kids have.  

When you are open and willing to be coached by others, you gain the knowledge and skills necessary to move forward.  Whether it’s tying your shoe laces for the first time, cooking, reading, writing, starting a business, whatever it may be – as long as you are truly willing to be taught, you will go far.

It’s a matter of giving up control for just a little bit, taking the time to learn, being patient, making mistakes, and having fun along the way.  Then, once you’ve learned, you’re able to turn around and teach it to others.  The duplication process at its best.

This morning was a lot of fun for all of us.  We all learned something about ourselves today.

Now, if I can just get them to put their toys away on their own…

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