Walking with a three-year-old

The secret to holding space, teaching, and coaching is embodied when you walk hand-in-hand with a three-year-old.

The child has smaller steps.

His curiosity is piqued more often.

He stops to touch things that have drawn his focus every few steps.

We contribute to a sense of belonging and safety by holding his hand gently with some slack in the line as opposed to pulling him along at our pace.

We facilitate growth and learning by listening to his questions and reflecting them back in a way that helps him answer the questions himself.

We encourage even more exploration when we also stop to investigate aspects of the world that are new to him. Energy spent attempting to see a flower, a bug, or a skyline, as if for the first time like he is, is energy well-invested. Doing the same when he is presented with hardships and challenges encourages healing, resilience, and possibility. This is empathy in action and demonstration in the context that a student cares about trumps explanation in a general context every time..

The most important work of helping someone else succeed is performed long before hands are held. It’s harder to stop and explore if we’re running late. It’s hard to empathize if our own needs aren’t met.

In order to hold a space for someone else we must already have created a space within ourselves that can be held.