Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Writing is on the Wall

I have an amazing book that my Godmother gave me that helps me to teach my oldest to read.  Her sisters both home schooled and recommended that book as the very best.  It has a catchy title - "Teach Your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons" and it is a great phonics based program.  I started my oldest very young just to gauge his readiness and we have been using it off and on for about 6 months.  At first, he was very enthusiastic.  He was ready for anything.  Then it got harder.  And harder.  And harder.  For both of us.

I thought I wasn't making it fun enough so we played games to make it more interesting.  In the summer, we read by the pool.  He would get to jump in the pool every time he sounded out a word correctly.  We called the game "swimming sounds" and it work brilliantly.  For about a week.  I tried giving him rewards (some may call it bribery but I'm not ready to accept that yet).  I offered him stickers, fun games afterward...anything to keep him focused.  I tried cajoling him by using his first and middle name in my firmest mommy voice.  "We have to do some work first then you can play," I would explain.  He would shrink down into the couch and half-heartily try.

"I'm failing," I told my husband.  "He hates it.  I hate it.  How can I keep going like this?  He's going to hate learning!!"  He patiently told me that no one was failing.  Our son certainly wasn't failing because he had shown remarkable growth in reading.  I certainly wasn't failing because I wasn't giving up.  Then he said, "Maybe he feels all the pressure you're putting on him.  Maybe you should just give it rest for awhile."  I let that marinate in my mind for a bit and realized that I had been putting pressure on him and myself.  He's not even four and I'm hell bent on making him read.  Why?  Because I was measuring my success on his abilities.

How many times do we do that as parents?  We see our children behaving badly, succeeding or failing and their behavior, accomplishments or lack there of act as a mirror onto us.  But it's not about us, is it?  It's about them.  And if they are acting badly, we are to teach them so that they can become productive members of society.  If they are struggling with something, take it as a sign to give them a break, regroup, and change your course.  Who knew that ego was such a big part of raising these little people.  I, for one, am throwing it out the window.  Will you do it, too?

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