The Struggle is Real...
My last blog I talked about celebrating the uniqueness of our children. About how we should rejoice in their individual learning styles and strengths. But there is a flip to this. What about when you see the hurt you child feels when they see someone else succeeding where they are trying so hard and just not getting it?
When my oldest was three I remember an evening where she was just sobbing in her bed because storytime was over and it was time for her parents to leave and she wanted more stories. “I just wish I could read!” she lamented from her toddler bed. Being the naïve, over-eager first-time parent that I was, I thought this was a sign that she was ready to learn to read. So I researched and bought a great book (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) and began school with her.
The next 6 years (yes, SIX YEARS) where full of so much frustration and tears, for both my daughter and myself. How could this brilliant child, who spoke in complete and clear sentences so early on, who had the memory of an elephant (supposedly they never forget anything), and who was so intuitive and insightful about seeing other people’s needs ahead of time, be struggling so badly with something so simple and fundamental as reading? What was I doing wrong? How could her friends and little sister (two years younger) be reading so much better than her?
The answer to my question, which I so heartily wish I had discovered earlier on, was that my daughter has dyslexia. Not severely, but enough to make reading much harder for her than it has been for her siblings. I have also discovered that she is an audible learner. She LOVES listening to audio books, and she always does much better when I read her math lessons to her than when she has to read them on her own. It’s just how her brain works. It’s just a way that she is beautifully unique.
This experience of trying to teach my child to read was really hard on both of us, but it also taught us a lot. It helped me understand that you can spend a lot of time trying to teach a child something and struggle terribly, or you can wait until they are ready and teach it to them over a short period of time. I learned more about learning styles, and how important it is to not compare your child to someone else. But the lesson my daughter learned about how it was ok that she was different than her friends and siblings was really the most important thing that came from it.
My daughter has also been taking ballet lessons since she was 5 ½. As you can imagine, her dyslexia has played a role in making dance a bit challenging for her. Sometimes she comes home from a lesson and says that it was a really tough day in dance class. Choreography is just hard for her to learn. But I am so, so proud of her because she doesn’t give up. She doesn’t get the solos, but she understands that the soloists aren’t the most important part of a show. It takes a lot of people with a lot of different talents to make a show work. Just like it takes a lot of different kinds of people to make this world. She does her part, and I think she does it beautifully.
I guess what I’m trying to say with all of this is that the struggle is real…REAL IMPORTANT. The struggle teaches us that our uniqueness goes both ways. It makes us better at some things and it makes other things harder for us. And that is OK. We are who we are. Not that we should stay stagnant and never change and grow, but I think it’s important to know the best way to do that for each of us, and for each of our children, too. Sometimes that takes a lot of floundering and trial and error, but that is OK. It’s all a part of the human experience. You will get it! And they will, too.
God bless you, mamas!
|My daughters and their friends are getting ready to put on another amazing show! If you are interested, check out the dance studio's Facebook page|