Friday, February 02, 2007

mission previews

One of the parent exercises that the RDI program has started having families do is to create "mission previews" about how we anticipate RDI changing our lives in the short term (1-2 years from now), in the mid-term (5-7 years from now) and in the long-term (10-20 years from now). The idea is to realistically imagine a scene from our lives during those time frames and write down how our lives will have changed. We're talking minor things here, how our everyday life is going to be altered by RDI, not grandiose goals or technical statements.

I first participated in this exercise when I attended the 4-day Parent Training in January 2006. It was recently pointed out to me that a year has passed, and that I should look at my 1-year mission preview and see how it compares to real life for me. Here's what it looked like when I originally wrote it:

A scene from next year at this time:

driving home from the supermarket
Jacob: "Mom, can we stop at the playground on the way home?"
me: "no, I'm sorry, we've got to get home, we have icecream in the trunk"
Jacob: "Why does the icecream need to get home?"
me: "Because otherwise it will melt."
Jacob: "Oh. I really wanted to go to the playground."
me: "Tell you what, maybe we can go tomorrow."
Jacob: "Ok! Maybe John can come too."

At the time, I wondered if I was being a little overly optomistic. At that point, Jacob had never thought about a place to go without us prompting him to come up with one. In fact, he had never independently asked to do ANYTHING. He'd never asked a "why" question, nor do I think he ever actually wondered about anything (he certainly had the ABILITY to ask "why" about things, he just lacked the motivation -- curiosity -- to do it). And the thought about delaying gratification like that at the time seemed monumental -- the mere suggestion would have caused a whole lot of stress and tears (for both him and me!). So suggesting that he'd be "OK" about me saying we'd come back another day seemed to be a pretty lofty goal. And then the final thought, that he would actually think to include a friend, was more a pipe dream than anything.

In looking at our mission preview now, a year later, I was shocked (and thrilled!) to see that every gain I hoped to see in a year's time has come true! About a month after we pulled him out of the pre-K school program to homeschool him full time, he not only mastered RDI Stage 4 (variations), which allowed him the flexibility to be OK with delaying gratification, but he also started asking "why" questions and showing the first signs of true curiosity. He now is coming up with ideas of things to do and is asking if he can do them. And he's even, on occassion, asked if his brother can join in the fun, too.

It all came true! I was floored. And excited. And jumping up in down in my seat. And when, in sharing my thoughts on this with a friend, she suggested writing another mission preview for the coming year, I gladly obliged. Here it is:

A scene from 1 year from now:

Jacob is sitting at the table working on a crayon drawing.
J: "I need a black piece of paper"
Me: "You do?"
J: "Yeah, white crayons won't show up on white paper. I'm drawing the snowstorm that's coming tomorrow."
Me: (searching through our paper supply) "I don't see any black, best I can do is pink."
J: (considering that) "Never mind, I'll just use the white paper as the snow and I'll draw in the other stuff around it."
He gets up from his drawing and goes to the window, looking outside.
J: "Do you think we'll get a lot of snow?"
Me: "Well, they're predicting almost a foot."
J: "Yeah, but sometimes they're wrong."
Me: "That's true."
J: "Maybe we'll get more than that!"
Me: "Maybe we'll get less"
J: "Maybe we'll get rain"
We both laugh, and Jacob returns to his drawing.

The changes that would need to happen to make this come true? Creative, flexible problem-solving. More complex curiosity. Theory of mind. A sophisticated sense of humor.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- it's going to be a big, exciting year!


At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


How exciting!

Congratulations to you and to Jacob.

And thank you so much for sharing your journey with us all.

Hmmmm. I should go dig out our mission preview. . . . We did our 4 day in Feb 2006.




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