Saturday, January 10, 2009
A friend likes to tell the story of being in the grocery store before she was a parent. A child in line in front of her was whining and squirming and complaining. Sherri couldn't take it any longer and finally said to the woman, "Why don't you take that child home and give her a nap?" Ten years and three children later, Sherri says that comment haunts her to this day. She now has two rowdy boys who NEVER behave in grocery store lines. I have a similar story. When I had only two "perfect" little girls who were calm and easily separated from me, I used to sit in judgement as my friend's son jumped on my couch with a sharp pencil in his hand, or at events where boys sat in their mother's laps while my girls confidently sat down in front enjoying the show. Then I had Frank. Though he is calm now, as a two year old we called him "Bam Bam" and he is a momma's boy supreme. But that's what you get. Call it Karma or simply getting what you need to learn most in life. One thing I have learned having three children is that each of them, though raised in the same household with the same biological parents, is an individual. They each have strengths and weaknesses, and while I would like to take credit for their strengths, I certainly don't want to be blamed for their faults. Of course you can't have it both ways, and that helps us at school as we strive to help our students grow. If a child is struggling, rather than looking for fault or assigning blame, we look for solutions. We believe that everyone is doing the best that they can, given their present circumstances, and this includes both students and parents. It is easy to judge. It is hard to reserve judgement and focus on solutions. The bottom line is it doesn't matter why Johnny is rude, or Susie cries when she gets "out", or Billy hides under the table when he gets upset. What matters is that we help that child overcome those issues so that whatever their genetic makeup, and whatever their home environment, and however crazy their parents may be, each child can become their very best.