Once upon a time, there was a young seahorse called Sidney. He was a lovely friendly and clever seahorse, who was very good at being a seahorse, but the problem was he was born in a world where most people were starfish. Sidney’s mother was a seahorse but the rest of the family were starfish and all of his friends were starfish, too.
At first this was fine, seahorses and starfish being sea creatures and liking the same sorts of things, and life went along happily.
Sidney started in a starfish school. This was great because lots of his starfish friends were going and his starfish big sister was there and he felt very grown up. The starfish teacher was lovely and there was lots of playing and lots of games, which he loved.
As time went on, Sidney noticed that the starfish teachers started talking about things that didn’t seem to make much sense. There were things which he was being asked to do that starfish kids seemed to find easy, but Sidney couldn’t make much sense of – things involving these strange symbols and codes that his friends seemed to get along with but he decided just to ignore. After all, school had lots of other fun things to do.
The starfish teacher thought that maybe, because Sidney was young, he would catch up when he was ready to stop playing and start learning. He didn’t, though, and he got more and more behind his friends.
His seahorse Mummy, recognising some of the problems that she had had when she was little, decided to find out what was going on. She discovered that seahorses learn in very different ways from starfish. She saw that although her little seahorse was curious, bright and very creative, he just couldn’t remember the things he was being taught. There was too much going on at the same time and everything just got muddled in his head and made no sense.
‘Seahorses,’ his Mummy told Sidney, ‘like to learn in different ways from starfish, ways that make much more sense to seahorses. Because of this, your family and your starfish teachers are gong to make sure that you can use these approaches. We’re going to make sure you can learn just as well as the starfish kids in your class.’
Sidney’s mother discovered that there are seahorse teachers specially trained to give extra help to seahorses. This was an enormous relief, as Sidney was starting to feel like he was a very bad starfish.
‘So you see, Sidney,’ his Mummy told him, ‘you and I and the people around you need to find ways to understand the starfish world in which you live. And always remember this: the important thing is not to try to be a good starfish. Just be the really great seahorse you are.’
What is this story got to to do with raising your children?
How can you teach your children to be happy being the great seahorse they already are?
Taken from Celebrating Families: simple, practical ways to enhance family life by Helen Sanderson and Maye Taylor