I want the best for my children and want them to be the best they can be.

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I suspect most, if not all, parents want this for their children.

Whether they’re the best inventor, accountant, IT guru, or best at kapa haka, sports, music, writing or reading, or being able to communicate, feed or dress themselves.

My mind constantly swirls with child-focused ideas, thoughts or considerations for and of them.  

I’m constantly looking out for the potential challenges my children may face. But I balance this against allowing them to experience the pitfalls of life. And to grow from life’s bumps and bruises and from their own mistakes.


Unfortunately in the past we’ve experienced more teachers than I would like or care to count (in many different activities) who are less than patient with my children, and don’t always warm to my children’s individuality and different ways of learning.  

I get that you can’t get along with everyone in life and non-compliance to the ‘norm’ can be frustrating and time-consuming for a teacher. But flexibility to each child’s way of learning is important. 

A particularly ‘special’ teacher used to say, “earth calling [my son]” – as my son often doesn’t look as though he’s listening (ie gazing at everything else in the room). However, much later, often at home, he can repeat everything the teacher has taught him, or said to him unpleasantly, in his often-musical manner or in a different language.  

Warming the path

Recently I had a meeting with my children’s teachers to talk about the 2017 school year for my children.

I arranged this meeting as I wanted to prevent any unnecessary and preventable teething problems at the start of the new school year that could see my children missing out on valuable teachings. Those little things that take the teacher away from what they need to do, and prevent other children getting the best out of their shared teacher.

In organising this meeting I came to understand this approach is a bit unusual. One of the teachers at the meeting kindly summed up my parenting approach as ‘warming the path’ for my children.

I pondered this phrase and decided I rather liked it.

I’m the sort of parent who would rather not wait for the ‘train’ of life to hit and am definitely in the ‘prevention is better than cure’ camp.

Everything I do for my children is geared towards preparing them – or ‘warming the path’ – for tomorrow and opening their eyes to possibility, choices and the world around them.

I’m not a great fan of asking for help when life swings a bat at my family. I’ve found through trial and error that putting things in place to ‘warm the path’ reduces the potential for life to go off the rails when I’m least prepared for it.

Using exercise to release energy

An example of my approach would be walking with my children and dog every morning before school no matter what the weather or conditions to help ‘warm the path’ for the day ahead for them.  

I’m a bit of a rarity, walking with my children before school no matter the weather, and have had a fair few quizzical looks over the years.

The morning walk gives me quality time with my children after the inevitable morning craziness – and often unpleasant and exhausting rush – of getting out the door each morning. We all get to exercise and it’s a good wake-me-up for me and stretch for our dog; so a win-win for all.

Importantly, I find getting rid of a bit of energy before school means my children hit the road running when they get to school and the teachers appreciate my efforts.

Interestingly, morning exercise to prepare for the day ahead in other cultures is quite ordinary.

Prepping teachers for more successful learning

I digress – back to the meeting I had with my children’s teachers.

We talked about who my children are as individuals and we jotted down their approaches to learning, classroom and social behaviour, as well as their successes and areas needing help and/or guidance.

In ‘warming the path’ for the 2017 school year I hope I’ve given their next year teachers an insight into who my children are and how to get the best out of them.  

Knowing them a little on paper will give their teachers some background into who my children are as individuals. So there’s potential for the teachers to be more accepting and more forgiving of their different learning styles.

Upside of warming the path

The upside of me ‘warming the path’ is my children are able to learn more, are more confident and are surrounded by people who ‘get’ them and in turn can get the best out of them.

It also means my parental ‘voice’ has been listened to and noted, in a proactive way, and I’ll have some comeback if things do go astray next year.

Me ‘warming the path’ of my children’s lives allows them to get the best out of what life has to offer them, and for that I am proud.

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Rachel Binning is a full-time jack-of-all-trades who has an extensive background within the health sector. She now wholeheartedly agrees with ex US President, Bill Clinton that “the toughest job in the world isn’t being a president. It’s being a parent”. Rachel juggles being a mum of two active boys with her business, Bella Photography, volunteer work for many and varied organisations that support families, and contributes weekly to community newspapers throughout Wellington.

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