As people and as parents some of us are lucky enough to have a perfectly generous level of empathy for others as well as a balanced perspective on events. Others of us learn to understand others’ feelings and have perspective on our own lives the hard way(s).
Last year saw G’s heretofore good grades plummet, but he was accepted and happy at school. It was clear that G had chosen, consciously or un- to put all his energies into that realm of his life that had for so long been an area of suffering. For a “typical” parent with an academically gifted kid this would be a disastrophe but the perspective and experience I’ve gained (kicking and screaming) about my kid show me that a decline in grades is a small price to pay for the gains he’s made in confidence and self-esteem.
By the end of last year, G’s team had begun to identify effective strategies for executive function and focus in order to improve his academics; and I am very much hoping we can bring more balance between the social and the academic this year in 8th grade. That’s going to be a tall order, but at least I am only mildly terrified this year. (Sure last year was a social success, but there can be so much drama in middle school, for middle-schoolers of all persuasions, and peer-group rejection is so common.)
Here are two posts I wrote around this time last year, in case they are of use to any readers:
This one is about my deep terrors for my son as he entered Middle School:
This one is about trying to find other kids who might be extraordinarily challenged entering Middle School:
And here’s an inspiring thought from a VERY WISE Dad I know and love, from his facebook page (posted with permission, lightly edited for anonymity); it helps me remember that I know my child and I know what he is capable of...:
Happy birthday to my son [name]. Apologies for this post, son, but “I had to say it.” The year that he was age 3 I was on lecture tour. In Indiana he was the only black child in childcare. After my talk a teacher said, “I’m sorry to tell you, sir, but your son is slow.” The next week in New Hampshire a different childcare teacher said, “Wow! Your son is brilliant.” I’d already played a significant role helping parent my three much younger brothers and [name] is my second son. I knew he was blessed. Now he has a bachelor’s from Princeton and both a Ph.D and J.D. from the University of Virginia. At no point did I give permission to some stranger to define my child (or his 3 brothers). If you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, friend... I suggest you follow the same route. You have to nurse greatness to find greatness.
Obviously, blessings and greatness come in all stripes and do not necessarily mean academic blessings and/or greatness, but I plan to nurse the academic aspect of my son better this year, along with his great heart -- and I plan to make sure the rest of his team does the same.
Wishing all parents and students and teachers and staff many blessings for a smooth transition into this next school year.
who are already fully-equipped for school should not be posting that on
facebook and making the rest of us feel inadequate.
Remember, if we do not believe in – and nurture! -- the unique greatness of our loved ones and children, who will?
Full Spectrum Mama