“The best days of all.” That’s a line fromone of my school songs, sang each year by the old girls. The sad truth is thatfor many people they aren’t happy days at all and certainly not the best ones.For some school is a 12 year-year-long nightmare. I don’t want it to be thatway for my children. I want them to enjoy learning, love reading, be in thesports teams and do well. I fairly confident most parents are the same.
The problem is that my pride can get in theway of what might be best for my children. I gave birth to them, of course Iknow best. The thing is, sometimes I don’t. Like the time I made my son eatoatmeal despite his protestations and he threw up all over me. Or when I didbattle with the school to force them to send my child into Grade 1 when hepatently wasn’t ready.
It’s now time to sit back and reconsider. Isat in his classroom this morning and watched the other boys read. My son isnowhere near their level of competence. His mathematics is fine, he seems tograsp it well, but his language, sports skills and social interaction is not asadvanced as the older boys in his class. At break times he plays with the Grade0 boys.
He was born in September and is theyoungest in his class. That developmental gap is huge now, although by the timehe reaches high school it will have closed. I was also one of the youngest inmy class. The others were always stronger, more confident, got boobs first, hadboyfriends first, got cars first. I was the last. It wasn’t great. I survived,but an extra year might have done me the world of good. Who knows?
So, do I force him up to Grade 2 where hewill continue to struggle or do I let him stay back a year with a teacher heloves, in an environment he beginning to gain confidence in? My gut feel is tokeep him back. He’ll be better at sport, better in the classroom and able toconcentrate on growing his self-esteem as he begins to succeed instead ofbattle.
I have fought this every step of the way. Ihave fought the teacher, the headmistress, the speech and language therapist,the academic support teacher, the school psychologist and myself. I didn’t wantto be the one who made a mistake. I’m beginning to realise I was.
I put my sonin this position. I’m the one who has destroyed his confidence. I am the onewho let her pride get in the way of being a parent, a guardian and a mentor.
I hope there is time to make it right.