I was helping Felix with his homework tonight – you know the drill, the sheet with the sight words, the sound words, the theme words, then the extension words.
Felix quietly said, “I need lots of extra help with these”. When I – oh so gently – asked why he needed more help (knowing full well having got our first “please come and talk with me about Felix’s progress” letter from the teacher) he burst into tears, saying all the other kids were doing harder words and more advanced work etc etc etc.
While I had to muster every maternal pregnancy laden muscle in my body to not cry with him, this kind of thing just breaks my heart.
I asked him how it made him feel. He said sad. And worried.
GOD my children might not look like me but I sure know they’re mine.
I told him that while it was really hard, he had to not worry about what everyone else was doing or what level they were on, and just work hard at the level he was on.
I told him that so long as at the end of every day he could answer yes to the two questions: “Did I try my hardest” and “Did I do my best” it didn’t matter one little bit what level he was at compared to anyone else.
I told him that he was loved and treasured and the most special boy in the universe.
I told him his Mum and Dad loved him no matter what and would always be here to help him be the best he could be.
I ended by telling him that when he was a grown-up, no one would ever ask him what level worksheet he worked on in Year 2.
All the while raging on the inside that this kid was judging himself on how well he could spell rather than the fact he can say things to me like, “Don’t worry Mum, we all have tough days and you just have to take it one part at a time.” or “It’s OK to be sad when someone dies, but you don’t have to worry because you won’t forget them, they’ll always be in your heart.”
He is s.i.x. years old. I’m kinda with him at this point thinking that school is really really suckful, and don’t blame him at all for not wanting to go or indeed for saying to me this morning, when asking if he could come into the city tomorrow morning to see the QEII arriving and me replying in the negative because he had school, “but I don’t have to go every day you know.”