since my last post.
As I sit here with coffee in one hand and reflections in the other I must admit I’m a little torn…only 6 more years of school for my oldest while we are just beginning the next “official”12 years for my youngest. Yes, when Melodi becomes valedictorian of her senior class Canon will be completing 6th grade and we’ll get to do this all over again! Except it will be through the eyes of my son which are incredibly different than my daughter’s.
Melodi’s transition to middle school was relatively easy – give that child a schedule and a set of rules and you’ve got an A+ student. Her definitions of success are most definitely her own. Mike says it’s because she memorized the “good marks and good grades” portion of the old phonics commercial, before she could even read or write. A poised, gifted and talented young lady, she’s all about good grades and being at the top of her class. A confident problem solver, an avid learner, with a laser beam type focus no matter what she is doing. I would suggest that these are innate traits, born into her, which blossomed through the right teachers, the right environment and her own brand of determination. Everyday it becomes clearer to me the kind of woman she will become. The one I wanted to be when I grew up.
Melodi already knew her definition of success by the time she was 6 years old. Canon’s will come later, and be in a different language. Let me try to explain.
The journey into academia has already been very different for Canon. A few weeks ago he told me he didn’t want to go to first grade. I asked him why. “Because there’s homework. No rest time. No playtime. More work!” I had to remind him that state law now demanded he go to the first grade, that if you include 4K and 2 trips down the 5K lane (due to his late August birthday), he had potentially had 3 years of kindergarten. And even if the most lax terms that was enough! He’s learning there are rules. But I’m not having to teach him how to break them. That is coming naturally – as it should. Boys don’t become men by following the rules. Boys must build a kind of confidence that challenges themselves and those around them. They must grow an appropriate sense of how and what to defend. They must develop a presence of themselves that is present even when they are not. He has already begun to define his brand of success, but it is a process. Canon puts a value on learning but a much bigger one on connecting with others, relating to them, expressing empathy and compassion that is not typical of a 6 year old. At bedtime he will say, “Let’s talk mom.” And I will say, “about what?” and his very sweet response is, “About anything! I just like this part of the day when I can talk to you!” And when I sit still and focus and give him my undivided attention all of a sudden there’s a spark of success! He may have aced something in school but at the end of the day it’s still all about establishing an emotional connection for Canon. I truly believe he will become a smart, confident man, defending what it is important to him and at the end of his grown-up work day he will be a loving and attentive husband and father, making his mark on this world. Just like his own dad! School will have everything to do with this. And at the same time it won’t.
I absolutely know one thing. They are going to be my grown adult kids much longer than they will remain my small young children. Kindergarten, middle school, high school, college… these are just stepping stones. I am going to enjoy the next 6-12 years! One thing is for sure, you don’t get ‘em back!