This morning's conversation was prompted by our decision to have Safety Guy stay home from church with me, because he's developed a cough, and has also had trouble with sleeping soundly lately. He was up for a while last night, and was pretty dragged out this morning. Princess commented that he was probably making it all up, and why didn't he have to go to church? I explained to her that her Dad and I decided to do this so that he'd be rested and better able to deal with school tomorrow. I told her that returning to school has been much harder for him than for her - she took to it like a duck to water, but he's had trouble not only with his math learning disability and writing issues, but with bullying on top of that. Being tired and feeling unwell only makes him that much less likely to focus and be able to learn during the school day.
Looking for potential, and imagining the dividends:
my kids are like fields, being planted, cultivated, weeded and pruned now,
but the harvest is still years in the future.
Princess acted surprised when I told her about the bullying that has happened to Safety Guy. (I don't know where she's been all year - it's not like it's a secret, and we've talked about it in front of her often enough.) She said, "But they have those 'NO BULLYING' posters all over the school!" I told her that some kids either don't learn quickly not to bully or don't care how they treat others no matter how often they're given the rules and consequences. Either way, her brother has been the target of some consistent physical and verbal bullying since the beginning of the school year, in spite of the excellent efforts of the school to keep it to a minimum. She was upset on his behalf, which I was glad to see.
I explained to her that I don't expect them to perform the same in school. They're different people, with different strengths and weaknesses. We just want them to do their best within their abilities. They both got their report cards this week, and there was some minor unhappiness over who got what grades, but the fact is that they're three grades apart, in different schools. They're being graded at two different levels, on different skills. It's apples and oranges - comparing their grades just isn't relevant. They got over that pretty quickly, to my relief. Still, it's an issue that won't go away, as she is likely to surpass his ability in math within the next year, and probably in writing too. Emotionally she's already on a par with him and moving up.
Hopefully we can help them make the most of their gifts, and work around or through their areas of struggle. But I really, really don't want them to grow up competing with each other academically or in everyday life. Our comparing them to each other would be pointless, and even harmful to them. They've each got their own path to walk. I hope it involves healthy relationships and productive employment. May the Lord walk with them all the way.