I have a chicken named Star Shiny Shine. True story.
In fact I have twelve chickens in total but only one with a name as ridiculous as this.
And the reason for that? I handed over naming rights to my three children. And this is what my four year old came up with.
When she declared the name, I was itching to shorten it. To mould the name into something a little shorter and less ridiculous. Perhaps Star?
But then I stopped myself. I bit my tongue.
I had encouraged my children to have a voice. To express themselves in the name they chose. And then I was going to change it to be more in line with what I wanted?
It sounds horrible doesn’t it? To hand over control, only to steal it back again, while still telling ourselves that something was child-lead.
Thinking back to the chicken scenario, I would have told people that my four year old had chosen the name Star. But that wouldn’t have been true. Her choice was Star Shiny Shine. Mine was Star..
This is a regular trap in our parenting and teaching. To invite ideas. To encourage collaboration. But then to ‘adult-ify’ what comes out. To resculpt contributions into something safer, less quirky, or seemingly more effective (as judged by our boring, grown up, logical brain).
We need to stop this. Child-led must mean child-led. When the responsibility, play and idea generation is handed over to our children. And we simply provide the encouragement, freedom and space to observe how those ideas stick in raw form.
Time to go and fed our feathered friends…Star Shiny Shine…and Mrs Clever Feather…and Chocolate…