In yesterday’s post I alluded to “shame” being a particular topic of interest to me recently. That’s called foreshadowing, and I’m about as subtle as a Mac truck blunt object. So, it should come as no surprise that it’s the topic of today’s post.
I mentioned quite some time ago the topic of counting. I had determined, I think it was when Garrett was just about one, that I would not teach our little guys to count. I had read an article from the author of RightStart Math — and it made sense. So, I put a moratorium on counting in our house. And we did well! Further, I was amazed at just how right that article proved to be. But, then we had a guest, my sister-in-law, and she couldn’t believe my kids didn’t know how to count and took it upon herself to “fix it”.
And I felt shamed.
I mean, what kind of mother wouldn’t teach her kids to count?
No matter that I had made this decision on purpose. It didn’t mean a thing that I had researched this decision, and that I was seeing the research “proved” over and over again, to the positive. It all boiled down to the obvious “flaw” that I had not taught my kids to count. And I truly felt shame.
I realize, it is currently appearing that I seem to be one of those people that dredge up past hurts, and can’t let things go, but honestly, I’m bringing up an example for the topic. Just bear with me a bit, please.
Recently, our church re-organized it’s kid’s program. They changed age-groups, and some of the teachers got moved around. I got moved into the 4-7 year old class. . .which puts me with my youngest two kids. I am the assistant teacher to a lady that happens to run a private pre-school in our area.
Let me just put it out there right now that neither of my youngest two can read. I am just now starting to see that they are ready to learn to read. There is a drive there, that simply wasn’t present before. (Thus, part of the switch from “Kindergarten” to “1st grade”.)
But, doing this Sunday class with the other lady has been a bit “rough” for me. She would say things like, “You should know how to write your name by now. You are old enough.” My kids do know how to write their names, but there were quite a number that didn’t. . .and even more that wrote completely backwards (like “mirror-script”). Once or twice she would ask “What does this say?”. Well, you have to be able to read. . .
And I felt shame. (I will admit to also feeling a bit of frustration as, for heaven’s sakes, there were 4 year olds in there after all.) I mean, my two youngest are 7 & 6. They should know how to read, right?
I have been looking at the work I’m giving to my two oldest. Are they getting enough? Is it thorough? Am I failing them? Did I forget something big?
Their writing is. . . “rudimentary”. I mean, they know how to dress it up and fulfill requirements, but let me tell you there is little joy in reading what they’ve written. Truly, you read it and you can “feel” how cranky they were in doing the assignment. It’s “checklist” reading — which may be a result of the checklist they are given for writing — but without that I’d be lucky to get a single sentence on, say, Alexander the Great.
Geesh, my oldest will be graduating soon, and I lack the confidence to say, “He’s prepared.”
And, I feel shame.
Now, I want to make note of something. I have done a lot of research, from counting, to learning to read, to scopes and sequences of material to be covered. I have studied my children and learned a lot about myself on this journey. I have made choices that I have felt were best given what I knowledge I had. (And looking “back” I don’t think I would change any of them.)
But, the apparent result of all this study and research and hardwork is for shame.
Phooey on that!
My children are intelligent, and lively, and curious, and wonderous creatures. They are taking in life and learning at a pace that suits them. They may not write the great American novel, but they will / do write technically correct. If there are any gaps, my children will have the skills to rectify that as they see the need.
So, should I ever harbor these feelings again. . .
Shame on me.