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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Praise for the Child that Doesn't Get Straight A's

Yesterday was report card day for us. Lucy looks forward to this day like most kids look forward to Christmas. The countdown (two more weeks- eek!), the anticipation (I couldn't eat lunch today, I was just too excited to get my report card) and the victory (YES- I got straight A's- Principal's Honor Roll!!!). This was the first year that Niko got letter grades and he is definitely one that thrives more when he knows he's getting graded on something and he, too, got straight A's. This is the first year that the twins have been in school, let alone the first report card, no perfect marks or even close to it,  but they did excel in the attendance department.

I am ridiculously proud of all of them.

When Lucy was a baby, I wasted far too much time comparing her to other babies. When will she sleep through the night? When will she start rolling? Why isn't she rolling? Why isn't she crawling/walking/talking yet when the other babes at Gymboree class are? I wished her older far too quickly instead of just soaking in each place in life that she gloriously was. She was healthy and happy so why was I even wishing for more than that? I was stealing joy from both of us to be caught up in someone else's timeline. And it continues as they get older: the comparison. When are kids are great at school, we want them to be better at sports. Natural athlete at sports, so we want them to get better grades. When they are great at musical instruments, we wish them to better at helping around the house. Amazing artists, let's work harder at math. More activities, more lessons, more tutoring, more foreign languages, more sports, more camps, more training, more scouts, more dance... more, more, more to exceed unrealistic expectations that we put on them.

Enough. The quest for perfection in our children so that we feel better about ourselves is exhausting. We miss the opportunity to embrace the imperfection in us all and the beautiful gifts that we all bring to the table. I'm not saying that children shouldn't be pushed to work harder and practice and read and study and be reminded to make their beds every single day; they absolutely should. That is why we are parents and the big challenging responsibility is to make our children the most wonderful human beings possible. But that means that they don't need to do it all perfectly. It means showing up and to have the courage to do it all over again every single day.

My mother-in-law gave me some of the best parenting advice that I've ever heard:
Everyone brings their own recipe to the world.

Take a moment to think of your own recipe that you bring to the world. Now think of your child's. It doesn't have to be in the form of a textbook or the number of soccer goals scored. Or something that we can even put on a college application or a resume.

Lucy's is reading. And loving school.
Niko's is building and creating and imagining.
Micah can figure out how so many things work. He has an engineer's mind that boggles mine.
And Sophia. Sophia can make a friend wherever she goes.
She tells me "My heart is as big as my whole body."

Yes it is. And kindness, the unconditional eye opening kind, is a recipe that will serve her endlessly in this life. She might not ever get straight A's and that is completely okay.
She shows up and she makes the world bright. I will take it.

Not all things in life should be measured in the form of report cards.

Shine on warriors...

My new book is available on Amazon now. A happy gift for all the warriors in your life. 

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