If you're on social media, you may have seen a picture going around. It's a photo of a scale at some sort of medical office. And it has a sign next to it saying something to the effect of "this only measures your relationship with gravity, it doesn't measure your kindness or creativity or friendships..." I have not gotten the exact things right, but I think the general idea comes through.
It reminds me of a prayer that my Chemistry professor had us pray before every test. I went to a Christian college, so praying before tests wasn't that extraordinary. And I'd forgotten about his prayer until it came up on an online board last year when we were sharing memories of college. The prayer went like this (again, not exactly. It's been a long time since college). "Help us to remember that our performance on this test is not a measure of our worth as a person or our value to God."
These are the messages that I don't think I've been conveying well to my kids. Not the weight one, although we've spent 5 1/2 years trying to get Ethan to gain weight, so it is an issue a bit. But I want them to keep the proper perspective on school and good grades. Yes, they're important to me. I want my kids to live up to their potential and try as hard as they can to do well. But I don't want it to define them.
Last week, Ethan leveled up in his reading. This is a big deal. So much of a big deal that his special ed teacher called me immediately. I knew she was excited. And he shared the news at his friendship group (I have no idea what that actually is...) and was happy to tell my parents when we chatted on Skype that night. I'm excited too, because he's finally into books with a plot!
And a few days later, as we waited for the school bell to ring, a kindergarten teacher who has no direct involvement with Ethan's reading and who is not Vivian's teacher and was not Ethan's teacher last year, came up and congratulated him on leveling up and made sure he'd told me. It was amazing- so many people at school are cheering on my kid.
I emailed the principal and teachers and therapists and all of Ethan's people to thank them for supporting us. And they all wrote back about what a joy it is to teach Ethan. Yes, he struggles in school and can be a pain sometimes, but he's just overflowing with love and friendliness. We can't walk down the hall without people saying hi to him- he knows pretty much all of the teachers and staff and older kids. I love that. He makes people smile and want to support him. That's the type of attitude that I want to see in my kids and I pray that I can figure out a way to not mess it up too much in the future. :)