I wish I could tell you I’ve never experienced feelings of envy as I’ve stood talking to a mom whose children are all excelling academically. And I’m not talking about a bragging mom, just a pleased one. Her kids read and test above level in every subject. Her kids are articulate and precocious. Her kids are everything it seems a child destined for life success ought to be.
A mom like that doesn’t even have to brag. I’m not blind. I can see the contrast for myself.
I wish I could say I’ve never pasted on a smile and gushed compliments throughout such a conversation, all the while struggling inwardly with an awful sense of injustice. Why do ALL their kids have to be so smart? How is that they don’t even have ONE who struggles?
Sorry. I’m not proud of feelings like that, but I’m a mom. And a homeschooling mom at that! And you know as well as I do that we moms often measure ourselves by the successes, (or failures,) of our children. Without question my pride would be much happier if all my children were prodigies.
But that’s not the case. Among my precious children I have a struggling learner, one for whom learning requires above-average effort. What my other children view as very simple, my struggling learner may see as incredibly complex. What they may learn in 5 minutes, even the younger siblings, my struggling learner may not fully grasp in 50. And what progress we make in school today may be completely forgotten by tomorrow. That’s just the way it works and until you’ve dealt with a struggling learner, it’s impossible to understand the frustration and the discouragement it can create for both parent and child.
Yes, we are progressing. Yes, I am continually seeing improvement, but certainly not at the rate I would like to see. Sometimes, honestly, I do grow weary of incredible effort that results in baby steps. Sometimes I just want the learning to come easy! And sometimes, unfortunately, I know I want it for my own sake as much as for my struggling learner’s.
Because people judge. People sometimes say misguided things. And when my pride is hurt and my ire is up I want to say to those parents who have never had a struggling learner, “Do you know how blessed you are? Do you have any idea how thankful you should be?”
But God always has a way of getting my attention, of bringing things back into proper focus. He makes no mistakes. He does nothing without a purpose and plan and as soon as I am willing to shut down the pity party I am quickly reminded how blessed I am to have been given the gift of a struggling learner, for these reasons, and at least a dozen more…
Without my struggling learner, I may never have learned how to encourage other moms whose children are struggling, too.