When my daughter was in grade school, she had a tough time raising her hand in class to ask for help. She felt insecure about being exposed as “not knowing” and as a result didn’t get the support she needed when she needed it.
Once her teacher picked up on this pattern she suggested a strategy to help my daughter get more comfortable with the vulnerability required to ask for help. She gave her a rock to place on the corner of her desk, one side of which was painted green and the other of which was painted red.
When our daughter needed help with something, she would turn the rock to the red side, showing the teacher that she had come to a stop and needed help to get moving again. This allowed the teacher to quietly engage with her about the content and get her back on track.
The simple strategy of a painted rock gave our daughter a way to normalize her vulnerability and helped her learn that “not knowing” is precisely the “problem” that school exists to solve.
Sometimes, when I bump up against my own incompetence and the stubbornness that accompanies it, it would be a big help to have that rock handy.
I wonder if you would like one, too?