Feeling inferior to anyone else is a silly state of mind, and yet it is one I think most of us fall into from time to time.
Comparing our lives with what others have set as their bench marks can only lead to heartache. We must strive to be the best we can at being ourselves.
I know these are quite deep thoughts for me, especially on a Friday, but I will recount a conversation I had with the boys yesterday and you will see where it has come from.
I was sitting with both boys at the dining room table after school yesterday, while they found excuse after excuse not to start their homework – needing a drink, needing a snack, needing the loo, needing to undress (that was only D of course). I proceeded to layout their homework books in front of them, both of them had spellings to do – at the start of the week, we workout a homework timetable just so they are aware of the time restraint of getting things returned for Friday, they both like leaving spellings until Thursday, so the words are fresher in their heads for the test on Friday! D as you probably know is extremely conscientious about his school work, he loves learning so it’s no surprise, where as M still can’t get his head around the whole concept of homework – school work at school, down time at home. When D opened his jotter, his teacher had stamped last weeks spellings with a “100%” badge. When M saw this, he started being very verbally abusive towards D, telling him it was a mistake and should have been “0%”. D of course gets very upset and retaliated by jabbing M with his pencil. D asked why M was so horrible as he had got all of the spelling right. My only response was that he was jealous because he had to work harder to understand the letter formations. I then had to try to explain what jealous meant, and so I told them it was when you feel someone else is doing something that you wish you could.
What followed really took me aback.
M said that I was right and he was jealous of how easy D found the spellings as he didn’t like doing them because sometimes the words didn’t make sense to him. This must have taken a great deal of effort for M to be open about having difficulty with something. D then told him it wasn’t easy for him, but he had to learn it as there were books he wanted to read, and the only way to do that was to understand the words! As usual D is very deep. D then thought for a while and said was he jealous of M because of the way he felt about him. I said I didn’t think wanting to bash your brother constantly was necessarily a sign of jealousy. He laughed and said when he sees the work M is doing, he really wishes he was doing it, as it is more fun than his! I said that yes that was jealousy but he would soon be doing more complex things as he travels through his school life. As usual though he wants to be doing things now.
I thought their interaction was lovely and it shows that they can think about the feelings of other, even if they don’t really know how to express it most of the time.
D has never been satisfied with the speed at which he is learning. He is so desperate for information, that he forgets he needs the building blocks at each stage to build on before moving forward. Having said that he is bright. His reading is a great example of how he wants to strive for greater things. He wanted to start to read whilst in nursery – because M was doing it – and one of the teachers there was happy to encourage him, but when school started they all have to start back at the beginning so as to be assessed of their abilities. It was at this time, D realised if he just kept his head down and conformed there would be less reason for him to seen as being different. It is hard to know how much to push him. We don’t want to be accused of being pushy parents (again), as it really is up to D to show what he is capable of if he wants to be taken seriously about his abilities. Us saying and him proving are two entirely different things. The other evening, he whizzed through his class reading book, and then read a Mr Men book. I suggested he took the harder book in to show his teacher how well he could read, he just went into total panic mode, saying he couldn’t do that because everyone is on the level of reading book he is! A great example of how he wants to hide in the crowd.
While he is enjoying learning, we will push D as hard as we think he can manage without forgetting he has to make sure his class work is up to standard. M, we will just continue to encourage so he understands the importance of the things he is being asked to learn. I do understand his reluctance to learn spelling, as I hated them at school, as they were so difficult for me, and being honest, I still can’t spell to save my life.
Yesterday though was a lovely moment when the boys opened up about the way they saw the other one, even if it was just for a brief moment.