This week I glanced at my Twitter page and found that I was at 4,999 total tweets!
Over the 5,000 tweets there are themes that emerged that are fairly consistent. These themes were summed up in my book, School Struggles, but I thought they would be nice here as a reminder as I hit this special milestone of 5,000 tweets.
Smooth Road/Rough Road
As many of my tweets have pointed out, I believe there are essentially two categories of children. In the first category are the kids who seem to be navigating the academic and social challenges of school. Their ride down the road is relatively smooth. For these kids, they are engaged in a positive feedback loop that starts in the early grades and continues on throughout their school years and into college. It’s a pretty good ride.
Then there is everyone else.
Of this other population, some kids are classified with learning disabilities, some have 504 plans, some are seen as not needing any services or accommodations, yet are still struggling. These kids have a tough time of it because they may have trouble with some facet of school or another. For the kids on the rough road, it is our job to try and fill in a few of the holes, recognizing that we can’t fully make the road smooth. Their ride is tough, but we can help them along.
Positive Trajectory Over Time
I’ve been at this work long enough to be able to take a “bird’s eye” view and see that so many of the kids who are on the rough road ultimately turn out fine and are doing nicely in whatever direction they chose to go. I have learned this because many kids have contacted me years later to let me know that they had done well. I also will run into parents who remind me of what a hard time it was back in the day during the tough times, but that things have improved greatly.
Staying Calm/Being Patient & Finding the Middle Road
Another common theme in the tweets is emphasizing the need to be calm, patient and clear with children. As parents, we steer the ship. The captains have to make tough decisions along the way and set the course. They need to find the best course. If rigid control is exercised, the deckhands will get angry and look to mutiny and overthrow the control. On the other hand, if things are too loose the ship will flounder and the deckhands will do nothing.
Finding a middle position with kids, being firm and clear, but not too authoritative or rigid always seems to work best. Stay calm and patient in the middle of the storms.
This, Too, Shall Pass
An expression I heard many years ago spoken to parents who were concerned that their children were not measuring up or meeting expectations, summed it up. It went something like this: “Be patient. God isn’t done with them yet.”
I remember thinking that such an expression was exactly on the money and helped the parents to calm down, see the big picture and not be so focused on the immediate problems. The expression allowed parents to gain some perspective.
So does the expression, “This, too, shall pass.”
With virtually all child issues, remind yourself of this and things will look a lot brighter in the morning.
On to the next 5000th tweets. See you at the 10,000 mark!
(Adapted from “School Struggles,” Richard Selznick, Ph.D. (2012, Sentient Publications)