Sunday, January 31, 2010

Can't We All Just Get Along

Sometimes I focus on the wrong things. Over the past year I have obsessed with the “right” school and the best curriculum, and the competent teacher, and readying my children to compete with all the other bright eyes in a classroom. By nature and training, I like research. And so, I had read every bit of material I could find on preparing kids to enter school, stay in school, and graduate. Now that both of them are in a classroom of some type and have friends who attend the elementary school I know the success my boys need may begin between the pages of a math book, but it most assuredly does not end there.

Enter… The subject of confidence.

Please don’t misunderstand. Of course I’d like my children to be proud of their own accomplishments. But I’d also like for them to know what it is to build another child’s self esteem. To understand that to tear down another is to sully the shine of their own soul. To delight in the ease of making and keeping friends and doing no harm to those around them. To recognize the part they play in boosting the confidence of their classmates. To see only uniqueness, not ugliness, in the face of unknown.

We all recognize children start learning at birth; the foundation for future learning is laid in the first few years. But how many of us realize the subject of confidence is as important as spelling, and algebra? And moreover, let’s remind ourselves now that if the foundation of confidence is solid the learning environment runs so much more smoothly for all students in all subjects.

Confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy of positive proportions, particularly when a knowing, disciplined parent has groomed that assurance with patience, persistence, and play. I’m not suggesting I have all the answers. But I’ve got a hell of a lot of questions. I’m thinking about it. And I’m not resigning myself to the idea that children – without knowing – can be brutal, critical, unkind, and unfair. I will take responsibility for the unkind things my children may say in the future, because it is my job to teach them not to say them in the first place.

Here’s to 12 years of peaceful playgrounds!


Patti said...

That was beautifully written (as always.) I was amazed at the behavior of some of the kids on the playground when I was teaching. But the schools cut so many important activities that teach sportmanship, creativity, teamwork, etc. Don't get me started on the "No Child Gets Ahead" Act, as I call it. I think it is wonderful that you are taking such an active role in researching and teaching your children. It makes such a difference in the child and it is so obvious to the teacher.

Sadly, in my new profession, I see many of the same sad behavior in adults that I saw in the children... That explains a lot!

laurel said...

I think you have already started to get ahead of the game. To just understand and see, what you do, you are farther ahead than most parents!!!

Glenda said...


Angenette said...

Good luck! I need some too.