November 21st, 2008
A 3rd grade boy was hating school.
That’s not unusual, except that he used to like school.
The child has gotten good grades throughout his short academic career…up until this year. He is struggling in one subject. His nemesis is Math.
Now he is depressed, he is frustrated, he doesn’t want to go to school.
While giving him extra help from the teacher or a tutor would be helpful, there is one overarching lesson in life this boy needs to learn –
He has to accept the fact of being human.
As the complexity of life demands gets into double-digits, an “A” is not always realistic.
If we immediately seek tutoring for the child, what does that tell him? He learns that he must be perfect in everything. And if he is not, he has to beat himself until he is. Otherwise he can’t be happy. You have the making of a perfectionist.
I would say to him, “Son, you are great in a lot of things. But math is challenging you. What should you do when life gives you something difficult? Should you let it ruin the rest of your life? Should you hide from it? Should you cheat and get away with it?
“Son, I am proud of you for wanting to get good grades. But I am also proud of you when you don’t. I am not great at everything. Nobody is, and neither are you.
“Accept yourself as a normal human being. Try your best, and I’m here to help you.”
Accepting our faults take maturity and security. As a parent, we can give our children both.
If I were the mother of that 3rd grade boy, I would give him a hug every time he gets a wrong answer. And I’ll sit there with him to find a solution together.
After that, we get some ice cream.
Photo by drcw