March 14, 2016 § Leave a comment
Since the time my son was 7 years old and he was in a competition I told him to visualize himself winning. I taught him to see the details in his mind and see himself holding the prize. He did – instant success the first try! Talk about reinforcing a behavior! Every night, even now, I say to him two things “pray and visualize”. He does this every night. Admittedly, sometimes he falls asleep before he’s done. He is 15.
In the morning on the days we haven’t given into the horror of getting 4 people out the door before 7AM – before he leaves I say to him “have a good day, be smart, be kind…lead”
My son so far has been very successful in school, socially and with sports.
Tonight I feel horrible as I realize I do not say these things to my daughter. I could give you a million excuses as to why – but the truth is I just don’t.
So right there, just above, that’s where I stopped writing the first time I sat with this thought. I was upset and thought about how awful I am that I don’t give my daughter wth a disability the same advice as I give my son. I quit writing this and went to sleep.
When I woke up I realized I don’t give her the same advice because she doesn’t need it, not because I don’t see her as a success. In fact, she is a huge success, just in different ways then her brother. All of his weaknesses are her strengths and all of her weaknesses are his strengths. For her school is hard, but she keeps on chugging. Socially she is happy – success for any kid! Sport just are not on her list. But drama and music are and she holds her own there.
What is different with Ari is that she doesn’t need to visualize, she just expects things to happen how she wants them to and they do. Her priorities are not always in the right place (in my opinion) but that child can manifest just about anything she wants! She is magic! She dreams about special surprise events happening to her at Disney World, we get there, she wiggles her way into the hearts of everyone and low and behold it, is one extraodinary moment after the next! She walks into any room and elevates the happiness factor just by her presence.
We were recently on a cruise and by the end 75% of the passengers knew her by name. She would walk by a bar and everyone would turn and yell “Ari!” And even in the middle of a show they stopped the production for a staff member to give her a shout out. Yeah that girl does just fine!
So what started as a post on self bashing, bad mom, how could I do that to my daughter has turned into what I and every mother has always known – my kids need different things from me. What works for one doesn’t work for the other and shouldn’t. They are their own people. My two kids happen to be polar opposites. What they get from me is obviously going to be different.
I believe as educators we are forced to look at all students to meet the same goals. To meet the standards set forth by policy makers. These standards have nothing to do with children as people and often times students like my daughter who don’t have strong academics but have “super powers” elsewhere are labeled as failures because they are not like everyone else. In truth, it’s a sucky experience as a parent to know your kid will likely never meet any academic standard, especially when your other kid is beyond successful. But I have been blessed enough to recognize that In the end “who cares”? What will truly matter for both of my children are the following ideas:
1: Are you happy ?
2: Are you kind?
3: Can you live independently?
4: Do you have people in your life who love you truly and that you love?
5. Do you have a job or do something everyday that makes you feel fulfilled?
Teachers – let parents explain their vision for their children. Help them realize what is truly important. Guide parents to see their child’s “super powers” and know the value and contribution those “super powers” make to your classroom and school!