Saturday, February 23, 2013

In Which I Bang My Head Against a Wall

048Bang.  Bang.  BANG!

You hear that?

That’s my head hitting the wall, again.

There are days that I feel like my kids are jumping forward by leaps and bounds.  And then there are days…well, there are days that I wish I hadn’t gotten up in the morning.

david socks profileYesterday was not a good day.  It wasn’t a horrible day, but it was a day that made my 12-year-old feel like a dummy.

Now, let me be clear here.  This is a smart kid. 

In fact, he truly amazes me sometimes. 

And nobody did anything to try to make him feel like a dummy.  This isn’t a case of Mom being hypercritical or anything.

But sometimes David just has trouble remembering stuff.  Part of this, I’m convinced, is directly related to the type of learner he is and how he sees the world.  My son sees the world in pictures.  Big complete pictures.  Sometimes some of the little details escape him.  And often times that doesn’t really matter.  I mean, does it matter if he can’t remember every single detail of a novel?  No, of course not.

But sometimes it does matter.

He stands there, trying to find the percentage of a number.  For the umpteenth time.

And he stares blankly at the board.  What is the next step?  What does he need to do?

Didn’t he just do this yesterday?  Yep, and with no problems.  But he can’t do it today.  The answer, the procedure, it’s locked away in his brain somewhere.  But he can’t recall it.  It’s a niggling detail that he can’t remember.

Perhaps you are thinking he is a little “LD” (Learning Disabled).  Perhaps.  I used to think so.  But then I started feeling like society is generally too quick to put labels on our kids and talk about them as if they are broken just because they don’t fit into the developmental checkboxes.

He doesn’t need to be fixed.  He’s exactly as God made him and somehow I think the Creator knew what He was doing.  Different is not necessarily wrong.

Sometimes different is hard.

Now it would be easy for me to just say, “ok, we tried, we really did, but he’s never going to get it.”  And I see this often these days…see people in despair, saying that their child will never be able to do x, y, or z.  “Oh, we’ve given up on memorizing the math facts, he can’t do that.”

It’s not for me to say whether or not someone else is capable of achieving any particular goal…but why give up?  Why assume that this is something he can’t do?  Why not try a different method or continue to work at it a little at a time in the background?

Why be defeated?  And why pretend that it doesn’t matter?

This is my son, the one who, at one time, seemed like he never would master his multiplication facts

But he did. 

It took a long time, but he now knows them automatically.  And simply having those facts on the tip of his brain has helped him tremendously.

I also speak as an adult who, as a child, seemed like I would never master my math facts.  But my mother didn’t give up on me. 

And I did it.  Again, it was hard.  Very hard.  But they are cemented in there and are never leaving me.

I’m not saying that everyone can and will succeed at everything they set out to achieve as long as we push them hard enough. 

And I understand.  I get it.  I know you feel, heck, it just isn’t worth the tears, it’s not worth the misery.  Let’s just stop!  And sometimes you really do need to stop.

I know all about banging your head against a wall

But I know that David will get this.  He’s capable.  He can do it.  It’s just hard and requires some ingenuity.  So, I’m working on helping him to recognize his strengths.

Then there are other things that are a breeze to him.  Really.  Not everything can be easy.  This is just an area he really needs to work hard.

I’m also working on some ideas to help him really cement these procedures in his brain.  He gets the concepts.  He sees the big picture.  He just needs a way to remember what to do. 

He needs to learn what works best for him---which is really something we all need to do.

Right now I’m dreaming up visual aids.  If they work, maybe I’ll share.

Are there any days that you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall?

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