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© Gail Underwood Parker

Monday, April 23, 2012

School Bell: Celebrate Struggles: Reason #1

Tis the season for kids to be sick of school and parents to be tired of fighting over homework,. The season for final projects and cumulative tests. The end of the school years looms like both a deadline and a prize. Today and next Monday will hopefully give you and yours a more optimistic view of the homework struggles.

Struggle can be something to celebrate!

With very few exceptions everyone will struggle to learn something during their life. Sooner or later we come up against something that doesn't come easily.  Those students who breezed through middle or junior high school, who aced high school without breaking a sweat, will hit a wall sometime in college or on their job.  

Which brings us to reason #1 why we can celebrate struggles:

1- Students hit that wall they are in a time when the grades matter far less than later in school or life.  
In the 32 years I taught fifth grade, I never once had a Harvard admissions office care about that D on the marine mammal project, or that failed Civil War test. I have seen employers turned off by D's in someone's college major, or on their graduate school transcripts.

Parents have to let go at some point when their child is learning to walk.  They have to eventually let go of the bike if a child is to learn to ride. Knowing to occasionally NOT bail their child out of a school mess is also an essential if the child is to learn to learn.  Do it judiciously.  Do it compassionately.  Do it AFTER having taught the child the skills to be independent. But do it.

Few children are damaged permanently by falling on their face when learning to walk, or by a skinned knee in a bike fall.  They will also survive falling on their face at school.  But like a child learning to walk or ride, parents should be there to help dust them off, bandage the wounds, and help them see how to do better. And.. the bumps and bruises hurt less and heal faster when you are younger and more resilient.

Next week reason #2 and the following week... a "but."

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