We all have the power to build-up those around us, or to tear them down.
I know I am sometimes guilty of the tearing down. My sense of humor tends to be sarcastic. I have had to try hard to reduce this, because to my children, sarcasm is simply truth. They don’t always understand it. I am sure not perfect at it, I still make sarcastic remarks. Not as often as I used to, but they still do come out sometimes. And usually they’re under my breath and not intended for little ears. However, often little ears are big ones and they hear many things not intended for them. It’s amazing what they can hear, especially considering all they can’t hear. Like “clean your room” or “put on a coat”.
Yesterday my 2nd grade daughter went to school. She was SUPER excited about having read an entire chapter book the previous day.
The background to this excitement is that, like her closest sister, she has struggled with her reading skills. Last year was a battle on the reading front. She disliked reading because it was so much work for her. Her closest sister had great struggles with reading. She was at maybe a grade 2 reading level by the end of grade 3. We got her some outside help, and her 4th grade teacher was amazing at inspiring her and encouraging her and building her up. By the end of that year she was at grade level.
My oldest daughter reads like a fish swims. She goes to the library every Tuesday and takes out up to 50 books, walks home carrying them and has them read usually before the weekend. She is a speed reader, with a photographic memory. Her reading skills are far above grade level.
So, my youngest daughter has seen both sides, experienced being behind and struggling. A few weeks ago she tried a chapter book. And she was hooked. She now loves reading them and challenging herself to read faster and retain more. She is doing really well.
Now, back to school yesterday…
She arrived at school excited about her speed reading. She wanted to hear her teacher’s praise and exaltation of her accomplishments. Instead, her teacher said she couldn’t read a book that fast, because her teacher couldn’t.
I’m fairly certain this teacher was trying to tease her. I hope this is the case. However, my daughter didn’t catch the teasing. When my daughter was telling me her story, she was crying. When I tried to explain to her that she was probably just “teasing”, my daughter replied “then why didn’t she smile, like you do”.
It is heartbreaking when your child tries so hard to accomplish something and they are crushed, instead of praised.
I was pretty upset with this teacher. But, then I realized that I am this teacher. Sometimes I do the very thing this teacher did.
With my oldest daughter I used to tease her when she brought home a mark in the high 90’s. I’d ask her where the rest of the hundred was, where was the missing 1 or 2 questions. I realized some time ago, that this wasn’t building her up. It wasn’t encouraging her to do better. It was actually somehow telling her she wasn’t good enough. So, I try not to say this anymore. I try to praise her instead.
We are all human. Including me. I need to take the log out of my own eye, before I take the splinter out of my daughter’s teacher’s.
I will however, try to explain humor to my daughter. I will try to bring wisdom to the situation for my daughter.
And I will continue to try to do better, be better, love more purely, and judge less…