There is a saying “meet people where they are.” As I grow older, I have found this concept to be helpful especially with children. My four year old granddaughter asked me to teach her to knit. I took some short fat needles, some hot pink yarn, and cast on the first row. I showed her how to make new stitches and how to turn the work at the end of each row. I put my arms around her and guided her hands but I knew she was young and I could see her attention wandering. Then I realized what she really wanted was to sit next to me and enjoy my attention. So I let her “knit” her way.
She made a huge and beautiful mess and she loved every minute of it. We were doing something together that allowed us to feel creative and at the same time be present to each other.
Her younger sister can knit. She was six when she asked me to teach her. I was visiting and all I had was the project I was knitting on, a blanket for the baby yet to be born. I cringed when I handed it over to her thinking she would drop a bunch of stitches, destroy my tension and then I would be left trying to fix a bunch of mistakes. Instead, she carefully inserted the needle, carried the yarn up and over and pulled it through making a perfect stitch. She knit a few stitches and then went off to play. When I finished the baby blanket, my granddaughter proudly told her parents that she helped make it.
The best teachers are the ones who listen carefully to the student so they can figure out how to guide them in the right direction and create just the right challenges to propel them further down the road.
I am learning to let go of my expectations and meet people where they are so we can see where we can go together. I am conscious that it is not always about the activity but more about the time spent together. There will be time for skill building in the future with the grandchildren if they decide to knit. Knitting is about enjoying the creative process at any skill level and it is also about being connected to the community of supportive knitters.
God is the knitting teacher that meets us where we are. All we have to do is show up, sit down, and spend the time.