I heard about this article from Young House Love Has A Podcast and it really caught my attention. Here is a small excerpt:
“To the student who does all the homework in his hardest subject and turns it in promptly, who studies diligently for tests and shows up at every before-school help session, who has never once read an online summary instead of the actual book and who nevertheless manages to earn no grade higher than a C: You have already aced the real tests. School is the only place in the world where you’re expected to excel at everything, and all at the same time. In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best. For the rest of your life, you will never again think of this C, but you’ll bring your character and your capacity for hard work to all your future endeavors.”
(Here is the link to the rest of the article:
Maybe this is super obvious to others but “In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best” was MIND BLOWING to read! Mind blowing because how true is it?? We want our kids to be great at whatever they try. Academically, physically, creatively, we want them to be good at EVERYTHING. I certainly think it is great for kids to try everything since without trying, they won’t know if they like it or not. But our culture is so against kids not succeeding at something so we pressure them to keep trying something they hate to see if maybe over time they won’t suck.
Honestly, I think that is one of the reasons I like teaching choir more than any other subject. For starters, I’m not really great at any other subject (again, so why do we expect kids to be??) and also, kids don’t typically take choir if they don’t want to. Occasionally parents will insist their child take some sort of music class and even in some schools they do require music class past elementary and middle school. But for most of my experience, I had the pleasure of working with kids who wanted to be there and wanted to give singing a chance. Not everyone I worked with was the world’s greatest singer and some even downright struggled. But those that weren’t very strong AND didn’t enjoy it, got to drop at semester.
Academically their path is pretty much paved. We love our kids’ elementary school and at the same time acknowledge that with their resources and standards (ugh don’t even get me started) they do the best they can. So we will support them as much as we can through any homework given, reading help and interventions as needed.
Physically their path is a lot more flexible but sometimes it seems that flexibility can be stretched too thin. In our house we try to avoid that by having each kid pick one sport to participate in and they get to choose that sport. When they are young we introduce them to gymnastics. When they are 4 they can choose between that and soccer and as they get older and hear about more friends doing softball or basketball or volleyball, they can choose which they would like to participate in. But only ONE sport at a time.
Emotionally we just need to be there. There for emotional highs and the lows. Not making the team is tough and getting a lower grade on something you worked hard on can be incredibly frustrating. And, knowing all kids are different, they will all react differently to failure. And that is okay. As parents, we will do our best to help them figure out which way of dealing with things works best for them.
So while we can’t always control the fact that when our kids are young, they will have to continue to take science classes despite being absolutely terrible (that would be me…), the thing I've learned, and continue to learn, the best thing we can do is encourage kids to find what they love and to keep working hard at it.
Hi, I'm Rebecca
I’m a wife, mom to 5 kids, former choir teacher, Christian and advice giver? I can honestly say I never expected to be the one giving advice when I so frequently ask for it, but the advice I’ve received is so valuable and must be shared! Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far!