Another First Day of School is here. The kids are off, nervous and excited. They left me at home, in a house that hasn’t been quiet in three months.
It’s bittersweet, really. I get my work days back, without the inevitable distractions that come when I try to cram my working time and momming time into the exact same space. But Meghan and Luke are gone, and summer, for us, is over, and in so many ways I wish we could hold onto it a little longer.
I have my own kind of nervousness as I send them back to school, starting 2nd and 5th grade this year. My fear for them ebbs and flows, sometimes I’m quietly confident that they’ll figure it all out and be just fine, other times I can’t quell the worried thoughts that litter my brain and attach themselves to the hopes and dreams this mother has for her children.
Perhaps as a form of self-therapy, I decided to write down my hopes and dreams for them this school year. Maybe surprisingly and maybe not, they aren’t purely academic-focused.
Do I want them to excel in their school subjects? Of course I do. But as we all know all too well, academic success doesn’t necessarily lead to life success. There are more important things I am hoping they gain from this school year than the ability to add fractions or ace the Friday spelling tests.
3 Things I Hope My Kids Learn in School This Year
1. I want them to learn how to fail.
Yep. You read that correctly. And it’s number one on my list for a reason. Too many children are being raised in a way that protects them from any form of failure, but that’s not realistic nor does it promote growth. You simply can’t move forward in life without failing. Not knowing how to fail can be crippling. I want them to learn and understand that not only is failure to be expected, it’s necessary. I want them to fail without needing to cast blame on others and to have ability to learn and grow when they fail.
2. I want them to learn that kindness matters.
I try to teach them this every day, but does it sink in? Do they really know? I want them to know what it really means to be a kind person. What does that look like? It looks like putting others before yourself, being helpful, smiling and greeting people, not leaving people out, reaching out to those who are alone/sad/different/hurt/scared, considering others before acting, and speaking gently. And I want them to learn that other people’s unkindness doesn’t justify our own.
3. I want my kids to equate hard work with success.
Every child has natural abilities, and they tend to gravitate towards things that they are naturally good at. My kids are no exception. The problem is that they both tend to avoid things they aren’t naturally good at, afraid to not be best or afraid to fail (see #1!). What I want them to understand this year is that hard work can lead to success, even in the things that aren’t “their thing.” I would love both of my kids to develop a growth mindset, aware that when you work hard, you can grow and become better at whatever you want. I don’t want them to think that only natural ability leads to success. Hard work is even more important!
I’m sure I could create a much longer list of things I’d love my kids to learn this year. But if they get these three things down, I will be a really happy mama.