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Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm not perfect so why do I think they should be?

In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything.  You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage.  ~Bill Cosby

We got a phone call around 5:30 this morning saying that our school system would be operating on a 3 hour delay today due to freezing rain.  It's darn cold and there is lots of rain and while I never actually saw any of it freezing, I was ever so grateful for the opportunity to tell my alarm clock to bugger off. 

Okay, yeah, I never say "bugger off" but at the attempt to keep this blog as clean as possible because you never know what young ears may be lurking about that seemed like a fair substitute.

I dropped the boys off at school a few minutes before eleven, brought the Darling Dachshunds back home because their favorite part of the day is riding in the car to school and back and then turned around and went back for the awards ceremony that included Dracen's grade at 11:30.

He's only in second grade so they don't get actual grades yet...that starts next year.  What they get in 2nd grade is a certificate for meeting their math and/or reading goals.  Well, I knew he met his reading goals because I record his minutes in his agenda each night.

I assumed he would be getting his math award as well since he usually doesn't seem to have much trouble understanding his math homework and is doing quite well in the subject, according to the progress report that just came home. 

So imagine my surprise when he was only awarded his reading goal.  I felt the urge to shout out "What tha...?" across the gym and spent the rest of the time stewing and wondering why in the heck he didn't get it while freezing my feet and butt off because the heat was not working in the gym and trying desperately to keep my knees out of the back of the very large man sitting in front of me in the bleachers. 

I found him in the crowd afterwards and questioned him about why he did not meet his math goals to which he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I dunno" and lined up to head back to his class. I suppose my answer will come when I have my parent/teacher conference next week.

I still had about 35 minutes or so until time for Devin's award ceremony since he is in 6th grade.  I put my little red riding hood up on my red raincoat and headed out into the almost freezing rain, cranked the heat up in the car to thaw out my frozen feet and stewed some more as I drove home, only to turn around and drive right back all the while questioning my abilities as a parent. 

Devin did get AB honor roll again but I'll be honest, I didn't expect him to and I'm still not quite sure how he pulled it off because he had some pretty low scores earlier in this 9 week grading period. 

I never knew, before becoming a mother, just how much I would view every single thing my children do or don't do as a direct reflection of myself and my parenting skills. 

My boys are both smart but they don't apply themselves the way they should or do as well as they could and I've been told this time and time again by teacher after teacher. 

I swear I don't think either one of them would bother to do their homework if I didn't stay on them like white on rice each night to get it done but still, when one of them gets a bad grade, a write up for bad behavior, or doesn't meet a goal, I question myself and wonder what I'm doing wrong as a parent. 

Maybe I'm not all up in their business enough?  Maybe I'm not giving them enough responsibilities?  Maybe the consequences aren't great enough when they don't do as well as they should?

Looking back on my school days, including college, I know now that I also could have done much better than I did.  I always made decent grades but had the potential to do far greater.  I suppose it all boils down to what we truly place importance on and where our priorities lie. 

Charlie and I were just talking about this the other night.  I can't even remember how the conversation got started but I pointed out that most all of us will find a way to accomplish something if we want it bad enough. He has told me he did not do well in school at all and simply because he just didn't care...he had other things he found more important to focus on. 

Yet, he managed to start his own business in his twenties that is still successful and going strong today.  So then I think maybe I shouldn't worry myself so much when my boys don't make the A honor roll or meet their math goal criteria for one grading period. 

But I know myself, and worry I will.  I suppose, in the end, all we can do is encourage them when they struggle, praise them when they do good, punish them when we must, and love them through it all.


  1. I know I put it all on me. All.

    Found out my oldest HATES to write. Hates it.

    I wanted to die. How could MY child not like to write?

    Accepted all the blame...but I know I need to think differently. and also realize that my kids will have different areas of strength.

  2. How do you think it feels for a teacher?!? I taught h.s. science for 7 years and my 4-year-old isn't in kindergarten yet...and I worry about all the same stuff. Thanks for reminding me to chill out!

  3. A very insightful post... I take it all personally too, like when my kids forget their homework and I feel guilty! I've got one who over achieves and one who is like your boys, doesn't want to put in the effort. And I was the same way in high school, although once I got to college, something clicked and I started to do really well and realized that high school could have been the same if I gave it a little effort!

  4. I hear you girl. I think we all do this. And your hubby's right, things work out in the end. You're a great mother girl!

  5. I hear ya! Don't you know that the moment those babes come out of our wombs, EVERYTHING is our fault. I hate mommy guilt. Really.
    My two kids are really struggling with math. Ugh! What to do.

  6. It's just TOO hard sometimes!!!! I swear, with my kids, I want to hide under a table and pretend someone else is their mother when they don't live up to the expectations "I" put on them.

    The thing is - we can't make ANYONE do anything more than what THEY are willing to do ...not another adult...not a spouse...not a friend...and especially not our children.

    Encourage, stay on them, listen to them and love them. That's the best - and it sounds like you do a fabulous job of all of that!!

  7. So long as my kids try their best, I don't worry too much. My parents seemed really ticked if I didn't get an A and I don't want to be like that with my kids. Sure, I'd prefer an A, but sometimes it's just not possible. Like with math. I could NEVER get an A in math no matter how hard I tried.

  8. Ahhh, the awards ceremony. I struggle with my oldest because he stuggles with school. I loved school, loved to write, loved math. He hates it all! It's a hard realization that they are who they are.

  9. I struggle with this x9 everyday! For me, I can easily give the Lord credit when they do something well. But, the minute they "screw up" I'm berating myself over how it my fault. If only I had that power in reality:)