Picking up my son from after school club is alway a hustled job, dashing in hurrying him as if I was the one that has been sitting waiting for him for the last 3 hours. But today I took a more relaxed approach as if time was finally on my side. However I was greeted with my sons sobering face that had a look of both sadness and disappointment, so instantly as a mom you know that look, the look that speaks of a thousand troubles but only one solution a hug. I smiled and asked him if he had a good day and it was the silence that he does and "the come on mom lets get out of here" speech that made me approach cautiously , because in his mind what he was about to tell me was a big deal.
So we get into the car and I ask the question again, "did you have a good day". Which was returned "with no mom I only got 40% in my reading test". Now for a child that is use to getting nothing less than 80% this clearly was a big deal, but for a mom like me who was not top of her class in anyway, but still doing really well in life, it was a dont panic try again conversation. But for some reason during this conversation my son got increasingly upset, even though I had not been disappointed or went off like a helicopter mom he still managed to work himself up as if we were having two completely different conversations. Infact he even became defensive, explaining how it wasn't his fault and almost blaming the teacher for not letting him refresh his memory before the test. I couldn't believe it, as he has a whole week to read his book but he still had the nerve to blame anyone but himself, as if someone else took his test for him. I think at that point my approach changed, It was like earth to Santino, helloooo. Do you not have the opportunity every night to read your book and you repeatedly choose the episode of the haunted house. Please son dont go there. I was defintely not disappointed that he didn't get his usual top marks, however slightly taken back by his approach to dealing with it. Which promoted another conversation about taking ownership of what we do and of our actions, that sometimes dont help us to get the results that we would like.
To be clear It is never easy parenting, as like I said before there is no "how to guide" and wikipedia doesn't have all the answers despite what people believe, but one thing is for sure you must be consistent in your message and your approach with your children.
I found myself explaining to my son that life is full of lessons and not every day you will pass the test, but what is key, is that you keep trying and you keeping showing up willing and ready to learn. At one point, amongst his tears I even joked with him, telling him to return my son to me as he understood that we dont whine about things and blame others, he knows, that we keep trying and knows that we are not perfect,so it may take many attempts to get what we want.
I think after I pulled over the car a few time and asked him to get out, whilst telling him to send my son back to me as I think he might have been lost, he finally stopped crying and making excuses as to why he didn't do well. I think he realised that he had another 24 hours in which he could try again.
However what I learnt from this, is not only do you have to be mindful of the seeds you sow in your children's minds, but you have to be willing to take your own advice. I dont know about you, but I know for sure that it's so easy to jump on that rollercoaster of emotions when you dont hit the mark the first time. That fear that is always waiting for it's opportunity to visit us and the ego that talks so loud, is what makes us forgetthat we too have another 24 hours in which we can try again. I think we get lost in our thoughts on the misconception of "perfect" and we too need that voice of reason to say "it's ok, let's try again.
Do you need that voice of reason to say "lets try again", because we defintely can and I'm offering you back your 24 hours.