Tuesday, January 1, 2013

new year's note to self: short and long versions

New Year's Note to Self, short version:  
Put first things first and take a writing/blogging sabbatical for a couple of months.

New Year's Note to Self, long version:
Yes, Heidi, you are a poet & teacher who practices her arts blah blah blah, but you are also a parent--the parent of a kid who has distinct executive function challenges that keep getting more pronounced as life gets more complex.  But just like you told said kid, when you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you don't sit back and say, "Oh, these things are hard for me so don't expect me to do them well."

Instead, top to bottom ed/psych testing is an opportunity for everyone to practice using their strengths to develop their weaknesses.  Right?  So you the parent need to model this.

Weakness:  responding flexibly when things don't go smoothly, efficiently and according to schedule.
Strengths: "goal-directed persistence,"  organizational and time-management skills.

You the parent need to temporarily clear the decks and free up some time and attention to focus on this child who needs extra frontal lobe in order to cope with the demands of 4th grade.  If you keep doing everything you're doing all at once, there's no frontal lobe to spare for him. 

The poetry will still be there in 60 days. (Heck, it holed up and hibernated circa 1985 and then popped out full of spring sap 15 years later.  Not to worry.).  But two months is a long time in the life of a 10-year-old who needs more patient reminders and less frantic screeching about missing homework and undone chores.

So, give it two months and see where the family gets.  Check back in around March 1.  "Everything will be all right in the end.  If it's not all right, it's not the end."