My daughter is now in the 7th grade and is doing quite well. She's very intelligent, articulate and really a wonderful child. But I recall when she was just settling down in elementary school, her grades caused me many a sleepless night.
As bright as she is, for quite some time, that was not reflected in her grades. And that caused me a great deal of concern. As far as I was concerned, I had a straight A student but somehow an impostor took over and was producing unacceptable grades.
At this point, let me pause and ask you - what do you do when your child struggles? Do you throw up your hands and say "Forget it"? Do you say, "Oh, well - some have what it takes and others don't."
I thought about how my parents encouraged me when I had my own struggles in school. I was determined to be there for her as they were for me.
I scheduled conferences with her teachers to find out their perspective. I hired a tutor to get her going in the right direction. And more than anything, I began speaking words of encouragement to her - words like "I don't care what your report card says now, you're a straight A student", "You're gonna do great things in life" and "You're the best there's ever been."
Our words have more power than we might know. We can build up or tear down our precious children by simply opening our mouths.
If your children should struggle to any degree, it's ok to be frustrated. But try not to use negative words like "stupid" or "idiot". Sow seeds of excellence into them. If you don't see the best in them, then who will?
Tell them they will accomplish great things - even if you're having a hard time believing it. Sooner, rather than later, you will believe it and so will they.
The Upbeat Dad