One missing word makes a difference

We homeschool our children and as part of their curriculum I’m teaching them to code. We recently started a Python book that we learned about at the latest Tech Birmingham Kids Coding Club. The book is Learn to Program with Minecraft: Transform Your World with the Power of Python if you are interest.

I went to check on my son’s progress for the day and he was watching some Youtube gaming videos instead of doing his work. So I told him:

“When you are done with that, I want you to do the next chapter in your programming book”.

I thought that was pretty clear and left. I came back an hour later and he was still watching videos. I asked him why he hadn’t started and he said “I’m not done watching videos yet”.

Immediately I got it. “done” to him meant, done watching all the videos he wanted. “done” to me meant, done with that video. Technically I couldn’t really argue with him, I wasn’t clear. Adding one more word in my initial request to him would have solved the problem. I should have said:

“When you are done with that video, I want you to do the next chapter in your programming book”

Lesson learned, I need to be more careful and make sure my request are clear. One missing word makes a difference.

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