I love positive reinforcement. I really do. My love language is very much centered around people telling me how great I am. Ha! That’s a joke, but on a serious note I like to hear that I did a good job, or that my parents are proud of me, or that my kids think I am the bomb diggity. I know we shouldn’t base our value or selfworth on what other people think because not everyone WILL like you, and they don’t have to, and often people’s opinions are based more on how THEY see themselves and their personal frame of reference, rather than on how YOU really are – if that makes sense?
Anyway, today I received some real positive reinforcement and it wasn’t an obvious compliment, in fact it was not given as a compliment at all, but I will take it as I see it thank you very much. So I was called into the school today to have a little talk. Now I don’t know about you, but when you are summoned to the principal’s office, you fear the worst. The call did say that it wasn’t urgent or cause for worry but as a parent you can’t help but worry. I thought that Liam was misbehaving because he has been going through a horrid little patch at home. Then I thought they were going to enquire about Hannah’s stutter – a post for that topic coming soon.
Well it was none of that. Turns out Hannah is doing so very well, she is above her peers and is been given work from the green group because she mows through the yellow group work very quickly. They went as far as to say she is even brighter than Liam was at this age, and for me, that is truly saying something because as I am sure you have always picked up from my writing, I think Liam is a genius. Ha! They wanted to know if I was happy to move her up to the next class as she is already doing that work and coping really well – this of course means that if and when the time comes, she may have to repeat Grade R because of her age, but of course we are going through this with Liam now and I understand all the implications. They showed me the class’s work and without exaggerating I have to say her work stands out. I am so very proud.
We talked about Liam and we’ve decided to leave him where he is for now, he will progress with the rest of the class to Grade R next year and we will assess whether or not he is ready for Grade 1 when that time comes. He was also given a glowing report – he works well, interacts well, he is a joy to have in the classroom, he isn’t a bully but stands up for himself if he has to, and so on. Very proud again.
But here’s the crunch for me, besides them being smart (and I’m not naïve, I know that being “clever” at this age actually means very little in the grand scheme of things, so you know your colours and shapes, big deal), so besides that, the overall comment and feeling was that my kids are good. They are nice little people. Even though I tried to sway them to believe otherwise. And perhaps they say this to all the parents, but it still touched my heart in a way that no one word can explain. And that, for me, is the greatest compliment ever. Those are MY offspring, borne and bread of ME, I helped mould them into the little people they are. MY hardwork is paying off. Those long, tired hours of caring for them – through sickness and through health, through teething and through fevers, through learning to crawl, walk, run and jump, night after night of sleeplessness, lots of tears from both them and me – I feel some small part of accomplishment that they have turned out alright; they are cool kids. Thank you Jesus.
Parenting is not easy, it’s so difficult that some days I want to throw in the towel and just walk through the door without looking back. But when someone, or a situation, acknowledges that you are doing OK, ESPECIALLY when you think you really suck at it, it really makes it all seem worthwhile. I don’t live for praise, that would just be stupid, but every once in a while it’s nice to hear good things about something or someone you have invested in.