Friday, April 06, 2007


Have you ever had a moment of such clarity that it seems like you're looking through crystal?When you understand something in a way that you don't think you've ever understood it before?

I had one of those today. I was listening to Reilly read, and I could feel myself just welling up with frustration as I heard her stumble over simple words that I "think" she should know. And I listened to myself "help" her in a tone of voice that was really kind of rude and unacceptable. And I was sitting there, thinking to myself, "When and why did I start disliking listening to her read?" because this is something that I've struggled with for the past week or so.

I watched her get frustrated, evidenced by her body language. Tightening of her fists, clenching of her jaw when she was having difficulty with a word. Stopping and sighing and saying to herself, "No. Wait."

And as I watched her, I realized that I was afraid that I was failing. As I watched my 6 and a half year old daughter read a book that was probably a second grade reading level, I'm thinking, "Why is she struggling? Have I skipped something? Do we need to go back? What am I doing wrong?"
She's probably reading at least one, if not two grade levels above the grade she's currently in, for crying out loud!

And then she stopped and looked at me. And she told me that she gets worried that when she's reading, if she messes up, I'm going to get mad at her. So my "help" is not helpful at all. Instead, I'm completely stressing her out, as I sit there and stress out myself! Sheesh!

So I told her my concerns, that I was not mad at her and that I was in fact, very, very proud of how well she reads. I told her that I was not frustrated at her but that I was frustrated at myself and that I would try really hard not to let that feeling leak over onto her.

And then neither one of us was frustrated anymore.

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