Today's Word: Dishearten
Three syllables. Pronounced dis-hahr-tn. Defined in the OAD as make someone lose hope or confidence. Synonyms: discourage, frustrate, demoralize, depress, disappoint.
I love my son more than anything. He is my only child. I didn't intend to have an only child, but that is what we have and I love him with all my heart. We have great adventures together and things are usually good. Except for this thing called school. When he was in preschool, I was his teacher and he was one of my most troublesome students. I thought that was just because it is hard to teach your own kids. I tried to work with him, but he couldn't have cared less about the alphabet and things that I was trying to impress upon him. We worked together for hours through play, educational programming, books, workbooks, etc. You name it; I tried it. Despite all my best efforts, he remained solidly uninformed. Well-meaning friends would say stuff like, "Have you tried workbooks? My daughter loves to do them." I. Tried. Everything. Then I got a new student who only played video games and had a TV in his bedroom that he watched incessantly. Both he and his mom casually confirmed the inordinate amounts of screen time. Also, this kid could read. Like really read. Everything. I talked to his mom and she said, "Oh, yeah he just started reading one day. That's normal, right?"
As Logan grew I did all the things that experts say will make kids love reading. I have books around the house, I read aloud to him, we listen to books. Everything. Guess whose arm I have to twist (figuratively) to get him to read. Then I run into parents who do none of the things and yet their little darling has just finished reading a series of 10,000-page books.
In school, he does his work halfheartedly no matter how much I take away or ground him. I've always made him do his homework without interceding, other than quizzing him on his verse and spelling. I've never been one for micromanaging his progress and I've never required or expected all As. But now he's in 6th grade, the work is hard, and he is struggling in some classes, failing in others. We have tried so many different things -- more than I care to share at the moment, but I am feeling at my wit's end. I want to have a life. During the days, I'm working at a school as a substitute and in the evenings I want to write, clean, work out, and more. The LAST thing I want to do is sit and work on homework, but with him struggling I don't know what else to do. I want him to be independent and even require he make his own lunch and take care of himself, but he is fighting it. I don't want to check his every paper and be on him about studying and practicing, but if I'm not on him, he doesn't do it. We've tried rewards, punishments, and everything in between. The homework grades suffer unless I am sitting next to him doing nothing. If I begin to work on something else he is instantly distracted. When I try to teach him how to complete the worksheets he is struggling with, we have arguments like, "Mom, I don't have to copy answers out of the book. She doesn't care about that." My response is "Clearly, what you are doing isn't working because you got bad grades on all those other papers. Yes. Yes, your teacher wants you to write the answers out of the book." He gets mad and we continue the argument.
Just now, I am supposed to be leaving for Wednesday night church, but I was trying to write. Instead, I looked over his paragraph that he was supposed to re-write. 1.) He turned the first draft in late losing points he can't afford to lose. 2.) He didn't put any of the things he's been taught in the paper. I insisted on looking over it before he re-turned it in which he found to be necessary, but I found 4 run on sentences, 3 errors in dialogue, countless spelling errors, to name just a few of the issues. Now I'm running late and . . . now, a few hours later, we are back. On my timeline, I wanted this published much earlier, but couldn't because I was helping him. So what do I do? I've never believed in checking homework, but he's failing the classes and failing to understand why. I feel like I'm being crushed by the work and that everything I desire is going to have to wait until he is out of school. Six more years? Ugh.
So this is it. Now you know why we really love summer. There's no school. This is particularly hard to admit because I love school. It's what I do. It's who I am, but every school year is a nightmare that leaves me feeling broken and well, disheartened. It's hard working so hard to get very little results.
I'm sorry. I know my tone today is sarcastic and annoyed. I scrapped my previous planned word and went with disheartened because I had to be real and put our struggle out there. I'm sorry for being nasty about the mom and her brilliant kid who learned to read without help. I'm sorry for being sassy about the motivated kids who read 10,000-page multi-book series. I don't want to hear about medication, essential oil, the latest guru, etc., but that doesn't mean I'm putting my head in the sand either. I discuss the issue with our doctor who is fabulous as well as teachers and friends. I seek help. Tonight, I just need to know I'm not alone. Maybe next week I should write about catharsis.
God knows my struggle and is well acquainted with my pain. I know that no matter how disheartened I feel He will never leave me or forsake me. My son is a great kid. He is loving and kind and smart. He's been cross-referencing his books since he was a baby and can connect details like nobody's business. I am wowed by him in so many ways. If, as an adult, he loves God and cares for himself and his family, I will consider him a success disregarding his career choice be it street sweeper or chef. Thank you for the chance to feel real. I hope that by sharing this you can see deeper into my heart and know that I am never coming from a place of having it all together. Maybe that is the lesson God is teaching me here. Humility. I don't have all the answers, but I know Someone who does.
All the goofy looks. All the funny smiles. All the awkward stages. Always loved.
"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."