When was the last time you marveled at the antics of a nine-month old? Or laughed at the silliness of a three-year old? Or cheered on the nine-year old at sports, or scouts, or piano? Children come to us ready to explore, learn, and utilize every ounce of enthusiasm they possess in everything they do. They are joyful, or distraught, or anxious, but whatever they are, they are that thing ALL THE WAY! They learn and grow and lose some of that….and that’s sad.
When was the last time you lost your patience at a small child for being a small child? Why do we expect them to be big when they’re little? And why, in heaven’s name, do we teach them to look for what they did wrong, rather than what they did right? If they are struggling with learning to tie their shoes, do we remember how freeing it was when they could finally dress themselves? If they got 90% correct on a spelling test, that means they got 9 out of 10 correct! When they want to shoot baskets rather than practice piano, do we encourage their love of sports and praise them for not being couch potatoes? Perhaps they can shoot baskets and THEN practice. If they love spending time with people, and struggle with studying in a quiet room, okay. Put them in the middle of the action and see if it improves their spirits and scholarship. Finger-spell their spelling lists. Create games to help them review. Run laps while you drill “boring facts.” Match their studies to the way they learn best.
So the next time your child shows you a nearly-perfect paper, hug them. Smile. Throw a “nearly-perfect” party! Let’s celebrate what they do well, and spend less time worrying about the rest. Give them the gift of being “enough.” That is all we can be, after all.