"Don't Beat the Children"This is my hard times mantra, and honestly there are some days when that seems to be limit of my accomplishments - I didn't hit anyone today. (Talk about low standards!)
Last week a mom lamented to me "I was reading Amy's blog, and my kids aren't anything like that!" "My kids aren't motivated" "They aren't self starters" "They aren't miles ahead of their schooled peers." Man, I hear you. My kids aren't brilliant, perfectly behaved, or gifted beyond belief (at least not gifted in the things others would notice, is there a gifted category for "can make sound effects that rival Fred Newman"? How about "loud and irritating beyond belief"?)
So this post is for every parent who thinks they aren't good enough. See, bloggers are people too. We don't really want to air our dirty laundry. When we post there is a huge motivation to make everything look shiny. It's like writing your Christmas letter every time you blog. Do you really need to put in the bad days and misbehavior? Nah, we'd rather write about the successes.
So here's some dirty laundry - I am a terrible homeschooling parent. I have a child I don't know how to motivate,. He has behavior issues, or rather, misbehavior issues. He has so many things he likes to do, and is good at, but he breaks down as soon as something gets difficult. He asks for music lessons, but won't practice. He was in tears this morning just because I asked him if he would sit down just once this week and practice 5 minutes of piano. He loved doing the Science Fair last year, and loves science activities, but is balking at doing the Science Fair this year. I think it is safe to say he has performance anxiety.
The carrot and stick just don't work for this child. He would rather do with out any carrot than do something he doesn't want to do, or even something he likes to do if someone else wants him to do it. He will suffer any stick just on principles. (Not that I'm too good w/ a stick, sigh... maybe if I would just beat the children? ;-p) He loves to learn, hates to be taught, hates deadlines, has difficulty with transitions, and on and on. And time after time, I blow it. I get impatient. I lose my temper. The kid is beyond inconvenient. I wonder what on earth am I doing wrong?
And here's the answer, for me, and for you. Maybe I'm not doing anything wrong. Maybe he's having a hard time and I don't know how to help him. Maybe none of us really deserve the amazing little miracles our children are. Maybe there's no way to be perfect and deserving.
Our job is not to be perfect, their job is not to be perfect. Their job is to be kids, and our job is to help them be safe and move towards adulthood as best we can.
And not beat them. Today.