The Best Parenting Move Ever

I told this story on my Facebook page several weeks ago but wanted to share it with my blog readers too. ~Elizabeth

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My kindergarten teacher told my mom that I would probably be an average student and what’s more, that when we began receiving letter grades, I’d probably make C’s. (This is the teacher who, when she thought we kindergarteners had been Quite Loud Enough Already, forced us to sit silently at our tables and copy the numbers from 1 to 100 on a chart.)

But in what amounts to probably the Best Parenting Move ever, my mom did not pass that information along to her daughter, no she did not. She expressed no disappointment in me. And she expressed no low — or high — expectations of me. She simply said to herself, “Whoever this firstborn daughter of mine turns out to be, that’s fine with me.” Which meant I could continue to enjoy school without feeling any pressure whatsoever.

For the next couple years I was a slow worker. I liked school, but I struggled with the pace of the workload. I remember being sent home with piles and piles of papers that I hadn’t been quick enough to complete at school, so I had to complete them at home. (These were very boring color-cut-paste-panels-in-order activities.)

Then one summer everything changed: I discovered reading (perhaps through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books?). When I returned to school that fall, I excelled. Mom didn’t expect that but was happy to witness the transformation from slow learner to avid reader and dedicated student.

And though I’m not passing this gift on to my children quite as perfectly as it was passed on to me, I still look to my mom’s example of pressure-less parenting, and I’m thankful that she patiently waited for me to bloom academically. . . or not.

2 thoughts on “The Best Parenting Move Ever

  1. I think as a homeschooler sometimes it is difficult to release the pressure I feel as a teacher to help my children “succeed”. I know that God has a path for them and I am just a a facilitator in their journey, but it sure is a process for me to let go!

    • YES! So true. It’s a lot harder to release that pressure as a home educator. For some reason either we (and/or critics) place an inordinate amount of pressure on ourselves for educational perfection. For example, if people send their children to school (either public or private) and they perform at an average level, we don’t say the parents really blew it educationally, and we don’t say the school really blew it either. No, we just accept that those are the natural abilities of the child. But if a parent chooses to homeschool, and their child turns out “average,” we blame the parent, with no appreciation for the fact that not all children, no matter how they are educated, are prodigies or geniuses. But there is more pressure on homeschoolers to produce greatness, if you will. But what if a parent is educating at home primarily *because* of a learning difference?? What if the greatest goals in the world *aren’t* academic greatness?? What if there are (gasp!) other goals a home educator has in mind?? What if there’s more going on than meets the eye, and more to life than test scores? (See, I told you I was processing lots of stuff behind the scenes 🙂 )

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