At 8:25 sharp we dawned Mrs. Lewis' door. She was running a few minutes late with the parent before us. This gave us a few nervous moments to stand in the hallway. What would she say? Was Ainsley as far behind as we had been led to believe the previous year? Would she need tutoring?
After about 10 minutes we were invited into the class room. After a short prayer Mrs. Lewis began. For about five minutes she described a little girl with excellent manners and one who was always the first to help clean up or to perform a chore. She chronicled the life of a shy child who was always intent on doing her best and became shy and a bit withdrawn when she had not mastered a task.
After five minutes, I had had enough of this. I reached into my pocked and pulled out my cell phone. I then pulled up a picture of Ainsley. I handed the phone to Mrs. Lewis. "We are talking about Ainsley, right? The little girl in the picture there?"
This brought out a laugh from Mrs. Lewis. It turns out that she was ,in fact, talking about our Ainsley. While I still can't tell you that I completely understand it, she is a little angel in Mrs. Lewis class. We reviewed her work and found that while she did well in many areas it was the areas that she had not achieved mastery that were the most telling. It seems that Ainsley has a confidence problem (Yes, our Ainsley, my child) She seems to have difficulty getting started on new tasks and doubts her ability to accomplish them. The good news is that once you get her over that hurdle, she absolutely flourishes and beams with pride. I know, I know. It seems very strange for a child like mine. But, the good news is that it gives us something to work on with Ainsley. It is important to us. We want our kids to be confident.
We left our meeting with Mrs. Lewis feeling very good and extremely proud of Ainsley. Our next stop was Sydney's teacher, Mrs. Hart. I won't go into detail but suffice it to say that Sydney is doing wonderfully. She falls victim to two things, rushing her work and, believe it or not, a lack of confidence. While I can understand Sydney's lack of confidence, this is an area that we continually work on with her. She holds her self to a very high bar and when she does not achieve her goals (many times unrealistic ones) she beats herself up about it. Overall, her review of Sydney's work was outstanding. She is a smart little girl with an incredible heart. But, once again, we have a confidence problem.
Is it us? Is it genetics? I don't know although I will be the first to point out, if it were genetics, anyone that knows me knows that it could not possibly be my genetics. I am brimming with the stuff. So, it must be something else? Are we holding them to too high of standards? Are we creating this monster?
Again, I don't know. It just makes me wonder and I want to ensure that if it is something that I am doing (or we are doing) as a parent that I want to get it straightened out. My kiddos know they are deeply loved but do they really know how proud I am of them? Do I make as big a deal of their successes as I do of their failures? What can I do to be a better parent? How can I help them and get them to where I want them to be? I want them to believe that they can do and accomplish anything as long as they set their hearts and minds to it. How do I do that?
Graham's was our last teacher's meeting. He would have been the one that I would have seen as having the biggest confidence issue, however, he seems to be improving a lot this year. It seems that taekwondo is doing a lot to help him in that area. He is developing socially and he is doing wonderfully in school. Mrs. Wilson went to great links to explain the grading system and while I still can't tell you how he compares to anyone else I can tell you that he seems to be progressing well enough. It seems he is a smart little boy. Our scholastic goals for him are to further encourage his reading. It seems that the more he reads the better off he will be. He is right on track in building confidence. It is still an issue but we have seen tremendous improvement.
Well, enough is enough, it appears I have painted a pretty complete picture of the kiddos progress thus far. I am only as hopeful that I can progress as far as a parent for our next review.
I need to put my purpose to work.