Could you have done more?


 This is an old post I wrote on November 7, 2013. So much of it still rings true.

I helped out in Casey's classroom this morning. Man, eight-year-old's can be rough. Casey's teacher barely has a voice today, she has a nasty sore throat. I could tell how hard she was working just to be present and helpful. The kids were not as empathetic as they could be, not a surprise.

I don't have a lot of tools to pull out when I get frustrated with a kid in the classroom that is not paying attention and interrupting the rest of the class. I know I am supposed to redirect them and try to get them back on task, but when they ignore me and are disruptive for the fifth time, I just want to put them in the corner with a muzzle. I just kept bending down and asking them quietly to focus on their worksheet. For the most part, my group of eight kids was pretty good. I had at least four of them working on their stuff the entire time. When the kids were being asked questions about a story they read recently, I couldn't help but wish Casey would raise his hand and volunteer. He didn't. I asked why and he said, "I haven't finished reading the story and I didn't really like it."

I said, "It's not important if you don't like the story. Your teacher is asking for your support by asking for volunteers. I want you to be one of the first people to put your hand up when your teacher asks for volunteers!!"

I see Casey holding back on giving his all and I want him to give more because I know he can. I see him stop at good enough, when he could work towards great. I did it too. I still do it. I don't like this about myself. I want to get out of my own way and stop the lame excuses that I make up. I want to hear a drill sergeant in my head telling me that I have to make it happen. No one is going to do it for me. I am not owed anything. If I want it, I need to work for it, but only I can make it happen.

I wish my parents had pushed me more. I wish they asked me about my homework and tests. I didn't give it my all. I held back a lot. I took the easy way out because I did pretty well with little effort. I don't want Casey to get in his own way. I will push him because I know he is capable of amazing things, even if he doesn't know it yet.

I should be grateful that third grade is easy for him. I should be grateful that he is a good student and not disruptive. Will that stop me from asking him if he thinks he could have done more? No. I want my voice in his head when he finishes his work. I want him to double check his math and reread his writing. I want him to look at his room and notice that it is messy and clean it up, without me asking him to do it. I want him to notice that his teacher needs more help than usual and ask her if he can help her. I want him to ask me if he can help me with anything! I want him to be more AWARE. I want to be more AWARE.

This parenting gig is not easy. I'm not always going to say the right thing. What I am going to try and ask more is, "What do you need from me that would help you?" I want my kids and husband to tell me what they need. I don't want to assume. They know what they need. And if they don't, then it is an opportunity to work on it together. At the end of the day I just want my relationships to be solid. I want my people to feel loved and supported--and yeah, maybe pushed a bit to be the best they can be, because I'm working on that too. I want to be able answer proudly when I ask myself, "Did I do my best? Was I loving? Was I supportive? Did I consider others? Could I have done more?"

I am a work in progress. I have a lot of work ahead of me. I can only hope that the more authentic I am, the easier the work will be.