A week back Oliver won an award at school. You know those bumper stickers that say, “My Kid Is A Terrific Kid”? Well, he won one of those. They honoured some of the kids at a school assembly so Matt and I showed up and took our parent’s share of photos. He stood up there and tried his hardest not to smile. He does that when he’s in front of people and I’m not sure why. It was a lot of fun to see him receive an award.
They also announced other awards for different kids in areas of Math, great attendance….other stuff that I can’t remember. His best friend in the class won a Math award and it’s not surprising because that kid is pretty academically inclined. His teacher says Q is “the smartest kid in my class” to which I always want to chime in, “You know, there are different types of intelligences” but she’s a school teacher so I don’t get into that with her. Nonetheless, Q is a very bright kid and I think he’s going to do very well through his school years.
It’s funny how adults gage things that kids do. There is so much pressure in school to get kids up on Math and Science because we seem to be failing from the rest of the world, there’s a huge push to get the Math scores up. Also, if your kid is good at Math, well, you just know life’s doors will be opened up for them. When Oliver got the Terrific Kid award I thought it was awesome but I do know other kids will get it this year too because they want to honour all the children at some point. When Q got the Math award I knew it was because he was good at Math. Oliver is good at Math and even likes it but he’d rather draw than do homework. I don’t blame him. But I secretly hoped that some day he would get a Math award because “that proves that my kid is smart”, right?
The funny thing is, I had Q over to play with Oliver the day they won the awards and Q said, while they were making robots out of cardboard, “Oliver won the Terrific Kid award. I just won a stupid Math award”. Then later he told his dad, “The day goes slowly when Oliver isn’t at school. He’s a Terrific Kid, you know?”
The things that matter to kids aren’t being amazing at Math while in first grade. The things that matter are people recognising that they are great children and that they are really loved; that people celebrate them. The things that matter to adults are, “You think my kid is smarter than yours, right?” I have to say that listening to the boy’s comments while playing really put things into perspective for me. I’ve always believed that kids learn differently and have different strengths that need to be fostered but now that he’s in school the things that are important to his teacher (Math and Reading) have to be important to me because I have to do the work with him. We work on these subjects together but I don’t ever want to lose perspective as I help him in his academics. I mean, he is in first grade for the love of God! I have to remember that it matters to him that I think he’s terrific! He doesn’t care that I’m impressed with his reading level. It matters to him that I think he’s a great little boy who impresses me just because he’s a part of our family and because he exists.
Now I see why people put the bumper stickers on their minivans. Still, I think we’ll hang ours in our room.