A difficult day is one where your little boy arrives home from school and his eyes are not shining. It’s even more difficult when it happens a few days in a row. For one reason or another, he finds writing really difficult and it is breaking his little heart. A little heart that I have held precious until he took it out into the world, un-mommyed.
Instinct alone was not directing me on this one. I had used up my resources, my tough lines, soft kisses, big hugs, go get em’s and so had to reach for the big guns at homework time.
‘I can’t do it. I give up.’ he cries thoroughly unused to not succeeding, not believing that he is brilliant (mea culpa). Here, I realize I ignored the hundred and one articles available at a click on how to praise appropriately but forgetting myself daily, I tell him how fantastic he is. To me, anyways. Ridiculously, in that little ‘give up’, I see wasted opportunity, a graduation not attended, potential not achieved, in other words, hysteria of a mother on seeing her first born down-trodden.
Hysteria aside, I reach for the most fantastic weapon us modern mothers have in the face of our child’s adversity; knowledge. Like his mother, this son of mine is a dreamer, an idealist and a believer (though he still has a good excuse at six to assume such roles, me not so much). When your mom has told you a thousand times that you’re doing great, you’re fine out, you can do it and there is still doubt, there must be another voice to tell a six year old boy to keep going.
So thankfully, there’s youtube.
For no longer was it me telling him but some more brilliant others. Winston Churchill in warbling chinny Queen’s English told him to ‘Never, never, never, give up.’
JFK told him that when he chose to go to the Moon, he did so not because things are easy but because they are hard.
And good old Albert Einstein, well he discovered atoms (I think) and some equation that mommy doesn’t really understand but he didn’t like school and found writing very difficult. Very difficult, indeed. ‘See, just like you.’
For a boy who loves soldiers, space exploration and scientists (!), who better to tell him that the windy road ahead can be navigated than these, his new heros. His hearing those words for the first time, I heard them too. And thanked those heros for the words of hope that continue to keep on giving. Today, they brought the sparkle to a little boy in Kerry finding the homework tough.
And to the mommy who will try anything (and more than likely too much) to keep him going.