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Failed, again

July 3rd, 2009

I had the perfect opportunity to lift up my daughter’s spirit and send her off to school with a positive attitude. But instead, a few words from me ruined her day.

My daughter just began high school this summer, taking biology in summer school (fun, I know!).  It has been a challenge adjusting to a big school, big kids, and big class assignments. Last week, she forgot her text book, and called me just before class started to bring it to her.

“Meet me at the stairs in front of the school,” I instructed. So there I waited, at the stairs near the school’s administration building, typically known as the front of the school. When the first bell rang and I still didn’t see her, it dawned on me that she must be waiting at another set of stairs on the side of the school. I drove around the corner and saw her just turning to leave for her class. The honk of my horn brought her running to my car.

I had 5 seconds with her before she rushed to class late. How did I use those 5 valuable seconds?

Did  I say, “Glad I found you just in time. Have a great day.”?

Did I say, “I know you’ll do well today, be happy.”?

No, I failed. I spewed out condemning words, “Don’t you even know where the front of the school is? You are at the wrong stairs! Hurry and get to class!”

As I drove home, I immediately recognized my own fault. It was an understandable mistake for my daughter to assume I meant the side stairs where most students enter the school. I should have been more clear with my instruction of where to meet, knowing that she is not familiar with the campus.

I acted out of my own need rather than what she needed. I needed to get my frustration out, I needed to tell her off, I needed to let her know that I was right. But I didn’t consider her needs first. She already felt bad for forgetting her book, she already felt bad for being late to class, she already felt bad about taking summer school.

Being positive, having a good attitude, and building an encouraging home environment are primary elements of parenting that I talk about all the time. But I didn’t say it was easy! Even with our best efforts, we all sometimes fail…

When my daughter got home from school that day, I apologized.

This summer, my friends and I are going through the book The Frazzled Female by Cindi Wood. She has a chapter about being positive that has been helpful to me. I’ll share about that in the next post.

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  1. Its a big change for the both of you and at least you realized your mistake. Good luck. I have several years before Thomas and high school to prepare.

  2. You’re so right that everything we say and do can have an impact. Thanks for sharing.


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