NOTE: I’m married to a brilliant woman. These are her words. She has been chasing dreams for the last year and supporting mine for eight.–Ray
By Michelle Hausler (@michellehausler on Twitter, @mhausler on instagram)
I’m teaching my son to fail. Wait? That’s not good, is it? Actually it is. He is 6 and in kindergarten. He has been having trouble in school, but not the kind of trouble you would think. He is reading at a first grade level and above level for math. We don’t push at home, just spend lots of time reading. It was his behavior that was becoming a problem. He was defiant, throwing fits and not participating at school. A week ago Monday he came home with a red card and a note from the teacher that we needed to meet. I asked him why he got red, and he said he couldn’t remember. I left it alone and let him unwind for a bit.
Before bed we were reading books and he stopped me mid-book and said, “I remember why I got red.” I asked him, what was it? He replied, “I had to do my station work (math) by myself, but I didn’t know how so I kinda freaked out.” (My boy talks like his mom!) I asked him if he could just guess the answer until the teacher could help him. He said that guessing was too hard. I then asked if he was afraid to make a mistake, and he started to tear up. I’ve never told him he had to get it all right! I always say hard work is the most important thing, but somehow he thought he couldn’t make a mistake.
I told him to wait a moment. And I went to get my own math work. I’m back in school getting my masters in math ed and taking college math class for the first time in 15 years. I’m not getting it all right. I opened my notebook and showed my boy all the mistakes I had made on homework and tests. I flipped through page after page of red marks and mistakes. I looked over and he had the biggest grin in the world!!! I said, “Did you know mommy makes mistakes and messes up all the time?? I fail and try again.” “Mommy, I didn’t know!!” It was my turn to tear up!