Now that summer is underway, I am pleasantly surprised at how relaxed everything is. Of course, it helps that so far we haven’t really had to make lunches for any summer camps yet. No lunches, no encouraging little people to get dressed before noon, no insisting on nutritious breakfasts….
We are in that wonderful state of Taita and Jido Camp. I remember it fondly from last year. Those mornings when I walk to work like a normal person. I’m not carting daycare laundry or rushing from one centre to another making sure all permission slips are signed and extra-curricular supplies are remembered.
Franklin told me that he has had one of the best weeks of his life – Ford Rod Hill, catching chickens, watching cows be milked, finding secret waterfalls, climbing cliffs that would make me shout in anger… all with my brothers Bechara and Adam, my Mom and my Dad.
This summer has been wonderful so far – as mid July always is. It seems like the holidays will last forever. August goes by so quickly. I’m still thinking fondly of his Grade Two experience while come August, I’ll be starting various discussions about class selections for Grade Three and which of his friends he’ll see along side of him. This whole, “Class Selection” thing is new to me. I’m from a small town and this wasn’t really ever an option. You went to Grade Three and everyone came along with you. As far as I remember anyway. Grade One was a bit of a bother in that Franklin was new to the school as he went to the private Kindergarten at the university. Grade One sat him in a class with no one he knew while the rest of his peers all sat in another class. I found out quite quickly that once those assignments are made, there is very little budging – even when they realize there has been an error.
Grade Two started off on the same foot – until I took a page from my Mother-In-Law’s book on “Persuasive Politeness” and didn’t leave the principal’s office until the secretary had handed me at least three pieces of paper in which I wrote out all the reasons why I felt Franklin needed to be placed with his peers.
For this I thank-you, Bernice.
Another thing I’m learning, because first-borns are all about learning the basics as the occasions arise, is that being regular is completely and amazingly awesome. Of course, everyone wants their child to be a prodigy when they are first born:
“Look how he rolled over! Waaay more advanced than the others in our Parent and Tot group!”
“My daughter could speak full sentences before she could walk! This is a sign of genius!”
“Of course they placed my son into a split class with a higher grade. He’s advanced for his age – writing poetry and memorizing multiplication at 6 years old! We are getting him tested for giftedness.”
Being proud is wonderful. Giving that expectation of needing to be gifted or special or genetically superior is not wonderful – and most certainly damaging. Do you know which kids actually succeed in university? Do you know which ones routinely finish their degrees, navigate job searching and rise in their occupations? Have you looked into which students not only do well in their undergraduate degree but are confident, determined and disciplined enough to move further into grad school or even their phd’s?
I do. I’ve done that research.
It’s the regular kids. They have “average” grades. They do one (maybe two) sports. They might play an instrument but usually only for fun. The kids who are “genius” and “gifted” and “over-achieving” are also wonderful kids. I’m not down-playing their intelligence and talent. However, if you have a child who breezes through school and is told they are smartest than the average bear for 12 years you might find that they have no idea how to navigate the challenges faced of them once they come to university.
Well, Franklin has his stronger subjects and his weaker subjects and I’ve found that I am able to celebrate both as gifts. His stronger subjects give him confidence in activities he already loves to do in his spare time. His weaker subjects give him even more confidence once he learns that he can sit down, study and then master each step in order to come to his goal. I can’t say enough how much this is teaching both him and myself.
It’s The Tortoise and the Hare story. I never wanted to be the Tortoise when I was young, even though I was fully aware of the outcome of the story. I’m learning to teach Franklin that it is the Tortoise that we value. If anything, I’m changing my own perception on life.