We know from experience that nobody ever learns anything from experience.
How can you turn this truism upside down for your nieces and nephews?
Babies come into the world lacking much real-world experience. They just haven’t had a lot of time to accumulate much seasoning. They have to learn things for themselves, and sometimes those learnings are painful. You hope and guard against lessons that are debilitating or fatal.
How do you help your nieces and nephews learn from experience but not have to risk all the downside of the hot stove?
It’s called rehearsal.
Your nephew is going to his first dance. His first dance is fraught with peril. He is thinking, if not asking you directly, “What if nobody will dance with me? What if I ask somebody to dance and she turns me down? What if she says yes but I dance funny?”
You could respond with a line from Willy Wonka:
“What if my beard were made of green spinach?” cried Mr Wonka. “Bunkum and tommyrot! You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that. Would Columbus have discovered America if he’d said ‘What if I sink on the way over? What if I meet pirates? What if I never come back?’ He wouldn’t even have started. We want no what-iffers around here.”
Instead, what you might do to actually be helpful is easier. You don’t have to remember all that Roald Dahl stuff, for one thing.
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
When your nephew gets handed a life lesson, you can help him incorporate that learning into his future.
Ask him this: “What did you learn from that experience?”
Listen to hear that he at least considered there was a lesson there.
Then emplant that learning into his future.
Ask your nephew, “When is the next time you will be in this same kind of situation? “ Once your nephew picks out an upcoming time when he could use his new experience, ask him to make a movie in his head about how he would like the next event to go, exactly as he wishes.
Tell him, “You are the director of your own movie, so make it exactly as you wish it would go, just perfect. Use your newfound experience to help you.”
That’s all.
Now your nephew has had a rehearsal to incorporate his new experience, and has placed it in an appropriate future situation, so it will be there exactly when he needs it.

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