It’s so hard not to compare, even when we know we shouldn’t.
I helped out in my son’s classroom today and I always find myself thinking ‘he’s so clever!’ afterwards. I always catch myself out though and promptly stop it. I think some regular volunteering time in the class has definitely opened my eyes to where some of the kids are at too. They are all start from such different places. True, my 5 yr old is indeed a very intelligent boy, but he has weaknesses in other areas and those are probably not visible to the other parents.
For example, his teacher and I got excited today because he put a costume on in the dressing-up area and was proudly walking around in character (a postman wearing a wedding dress!) Not a big deal for most kids, but Mr 5 has never been interested in dressing up. At the start of the year he seemed lost in the dress-up area, always standing back and watching the other kids but never joining it. He seemed afraid to let himself pretend, more content to be seated at a table and working. Now he loves dressing up and it’s been great to watch this transformation in him.
I started thinking about how my goals for him this year, his first year of school, have been so different from a lot of parents. Where others have been hoping their child might learn to read or write their name or count to ten, I’ve just wanted my son to be happy and confident. It was in part because he was such a clever little cookie already but also because I wanted him to love school, no matter what the work side of things were. I was more concerned with character-building than brain building I guess. He is of course learning new things and increasingly his already alarmingly large academic knowledge but he is also maturing and becoming so much more comfortable in himself. That’s so much more important for him right now.
This time last year he wouldn’t speak to his preschool teachers and was horrified by the idea of talking in front of the group. I didn’t want him to be the shy kid, afraid to be called on in class. I didn’t want him to be like me. This year he has already been excited by giving a talk to the class, and has proudly stepped up in front of everyone at assembly to collect an award.
Every week I help out in his class I reminded of how he is growing up.
It makes me happy.