My sweet boy has had a rough week... of "Alexander and the No Good, Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad Day" proportions. He was overlooked for an activity during Physical Education, skipped two problems on his vocabulary test resulting in a "C" and completely misunderstood the directions for an assignment today and made a 0. He's devastated. Sobbing, heaving, crying until your throat hurts devastated.
Part of me understands that there are great lessons to be learned from this kind of day, this kind of week in life. But a large part of my heart wants to make it all easy and right for my child. I don't WANT him to have to suffer, to have anything horrible happen in his life even though I know none of us will escape the sad, the hard, the difficulties that come with living. Most of me knows that the most lasting, the most valuable things he can gain will come from facing adversity. But it is so hard to navigate through these rough days.
We are very frustrated with the state of our public education system (thank you Dubya). He comes home each week with a stack of worksheets, does 30-45 minutes of homework every night and spends too much time studying "test preparation" in school. We certainly don't believe that teachers bear the blame for this sad state of learning in our country. Rather, most of the blame can be laid on the shoulders of politicians who think that if a child achieves a certain score on a multiple choice test, we can determine their level of intelligence. Engaging, higher level learning activities like experiments, model-making, and creative writing are being sacrificed to be sure that students can regurgitate memorized facts on tests. They are not being taught about strategies, thinking or being creative. Instead they spend weeks learning how to bubble in circles on a multiple choice test. Learning how to eliminate least likely answers... what a waste of valuable learning time!
Our son, who is bright, articulate, mechanical and gentle is being stressed out in the second grade because he daydreams, because his hand-writing is horrible, because he gets a little nervous about asking questions. It is truly ridiculous that the obsession with achieving a certain score is leading a generation right into mediocrity and believing that there is only one way of doing things. Not MY child, though. I'm no lemming and I won't be diving over the cliff with the rest of those interested in maintaining the status quo.
Yes I want my beautiful son to set a high standard for himself. Yes I want him to understand that effort, hard work, and perseverance are important. But I'm not willing to let him lose his identity, his talents, his personality in a quest to fit inside a box that some idiot measured wrong. We've worked hard to improve his handwriting, to get him on grade level in reading (which he LOVES now, by the way), to encourage his strengths and bridge his weaknesses.
Rob and I have spent the last 30 minutes telling him that today was just a day. Tomorrow is a new one. We've figured out how to learn something from the disaster of his first 0. Now I have to buy that tomorrow is a new day, because right now my throat is clogged with tears, my eyes are wet and I really just want to turn off the alarm, let him sleep in and have a cuddle day. But we won't do that. We'll cuddle before school and after breakfast. He'll put his shirt on backwards and I'll have to stay after him to find his other sock. Rob will remind him to brush his teeth three times before he finally does it. There will be a mad scramble to get the book bag, the lunch box and a cup of water before he heads out. Tomorrow is a new day. It will be a better day. It has to be. Because today was terrible, horrible, no good and very, very bad.
11 months ago