The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm. ~Fred Dehner
Note: Recently, I made the decision to share more about my family’s Lyme diagnosis and treatment; part of it is cathartic, and in part to help increase awareness about the impact of Lyme.
Since the beginning of the school year, I’ve been committed to working with my younger son to help him stay focused and on track with his classwork and homework. At this age, it is hard for middle schoolers to keep track of assignments, exams, etc. in their heads, and they don’t always write things down in their notebooks. Frustrating for my son. Frustrating for me.
My role is not to be a lawnmower parent and try to move discomfort and struggles out of his way. My role is not a helicopter parent and take an overprotective interest in his life. Nor is my role to be the student and do the work for him. I experienced 7th grade – 40 years ago. No thanks.
My role is to provide support and encouragement. My role is to acknowledge his accomplishments and help him recognize the areas he needs to improve. My role is to step in and advocate for him when needed.
It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and frustration since the start of the school year yet the joy of seeing the benefit of Lyme treatment, neurotherapy, and my son’s efforts at school came together serendipitously yesterday afternoon when I was copied on an email son’s Humanities teacher sent to him:
I just want to let you know that I am proud of you for how focused you were today, as well as for your active participation in our discussion of the First Crusade. You provided some excellent evidence, and I appreciate your on-topic involvement. Great job! – T.G.
I was happy to receive the email, however, my son was very nonchalant about it. “I was communicating in class. It’s not a big deal, Mom” he told me.
When figuring out the best way to help my son in school, we determined communication and patience would be the best approach and while it can be arduous and stressful, our efforts are paying off:
My son said he needed help with math. My older son stepped in to help and sat with him patiently explaining algebraic functions.
My son told us he was distracted in class and didn’t like sitting in the back row. He talked to the teacher and was able to move to the front row.
My son said he was fidgety and thought a stress ball would help. A stress ball was obtained and the fidgeting stopped.
Communication and patience are paying dividends; the email from his teacher to him (not to me) acknowledging him for his participation and efforts in class, is a positive affirmation.
My son is succeeding, not just in our eyes, but in his own eyes as well.