Friday, March 16, 2012

What do we really Honor?

Last week my son’s school had an honor roll luncheon. First off I do think children who make honor roll should be celebrated, most of them work hard and their hard work should be acknowledged.  At this luncheon there was pizza, cake and goody bag. My son was one of 3 children that did not make the honor roll.
So I packed him a lunch and he ate in the lunch room with the younger grades. I truly wanted to go and take him out of school a take him to lunch, to celebrate the fact that he worked hard and to show him he was as worthy as the other kids. He worked harder than he has ever worked to get a 3.0 and was left to feel like he was again, not good enough. To feel like he shouldn’t bother because he is still not as good as everyone else and no matter what he does it isn't good enough.
For a child like Conner to be one of 3 kids excluded can be dangerous. He sees a counselor to help him deal with his difficulties in school. After he quit turning in assignments we found out through his counselor that this was a big reason. He felt defeated. He was made fun of from some students because he couldn't go. As a result his self esteem and self worth took another hit.

I have kids on both ends, Maddie gets great grades and does extremely well in school, not everything comes easy for her but she doesn’t struggle by any means. She is confident and sure of herself. Conner on the other hand does not. He has a mild learning disability. He works twice as hard for half the grade, or doesn't try at all for fear of failure. He doubts himself all the time and doesn't think he is as good as everyone else. ( I will share more about his journey and ours someday.)
I have always worried that his struggles in school would change who he is. That it would break him. That all the wonderful and beautiful things we love about him would slowly fade as he began to feel more and more like a failure.
We pulled him out of public school right before Christmas. He now attends a small Christian private school. While the smaller, less chaotic atmosphere, and the kids not growing up to fast has helped, I’m still not sure if it is the right fit. I can see my husband rolling his eyes right now. Yes Honey, I suppose I won’t be happy anywhere and no one would be doing enough to help my child.
Sometimes I think home school is the answer. I’m pretty sure we would end up killing each other but I worry about the future for my sweet little boy. High school is right around the corner and I know he is not cut out to be there. I am certain his time to shine is not in school but as this wonderful adult, I know he will touch many lives and do amazing things in this life. I just have to make sure I get him to that point. 

 I was texting a dear friend the other day. I was crying to her about my boy who can’t seem to do school like he “should”. She said, “There is a big difference between being smart and being a student.” This is so true. We need celebrate every child, not just the ones who can make the honor roll. God gave my boy amazing gifts, real gifts, special gifts. The gift of kindness, empathy, thoughtfulness, humor and wit, the gift to make each person he meets feel like they are important, the gift to talk to anyone, no matter who they are or where they come from. These are the gifts that matter in my eyes. The gifts I am afraid he will lose. The gifts I want people to see.
He isn’t gifted in academics or athletics, which I think our society today values most in children; I think we feel like as long as our kid gets good grades and is a heck of a ball player he is the cat’s pajamas. Don’t get me wrong I know many kids who get good grades and are athletic and they are still wonderful kids, my daughter being one of them; I just don’t see society emphasizing on the wonderful kid part. The qualities Conner has are the ones that will make him an amazing adult, a wonderful husband, boss or employee, and father, and I feel often they go unnoticed. Sadly until he gets through school he will continue to feel not good enough.
I honestly don’t know what the answer is. I wish I did. I have to to realize I may never know. I do know that for now we continue to try and push him just hard enough. To celebrate his gifts. To get him through today at school and deal with tomorrow as it comes. To not worry so much about his weaknesses but build up his strengths. And above all to love him for exactly who he is.

I almost did not share this post. I felt it might be too personal. Then I thought of other Mommies, and Daddies who may have a beautiful child like Conner, who might benefit from hearing these words. To realize they are not alone. Each post I write is therapeutic for me in some way, this one was special.  I plan on rereading this post when I begin to feel discouraged and defeated and need to be put back in the direction of what is important to me, when I need things put back in perspective. When I feel like lecturing him on academics I hope I remember to stop and think of the qualities he was blessed with. The qualities I am blessed to have in him. Honestly, I wouldn't trade anything about him to be a better student.


My hope is that he will stay exactly who he is, no matter what the world says, I want him to know he is my perfectly imperfect little Bubba.


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