Tuesday, 21 September 2010

There's always the black dots

I got into a bit of trouble from my M-i-l on Saturday. We were staying at their place the night before the Big Race because they were minding the four kids for us on Sunday (thank you!). We were appropriately carbohydrate loading before the event (pizzas) and drinking a couple of wines and M-i-l and I were nattering away about the ups and downs of the week.

I told her that the Minx had her first (semi) successful potty experience. Dew Drop spoke his first 2-word utterances. Doo Dah dressed himself by himself for the first time, and Nugget moved up to 'black dots' for reading (Level 18). So far, so good. Lots of 'how wonderful', 'how clever' etc.

Then I said that Doo Dah and Nugget had recommenced swimming lessons and both are putting their faces in the water (Nugget even his whole head). More 'oohs' and 'aahs'. And then, "And Nugget has started Little Athletics. He's not much of an athlete, yet".

Well, didn't I hear about how negative I am!

I don't think it is negative to admit that your child isn't displaying particular strengths in the sporting arena. His gross motor development was always behind his peers, he sees an Occupational Therapist for assistance with fine motor skills, it is no surprise to me that he wasn't the biggest star at the meet.

I was super proud of him for going. For participating. For trying his best. I truly think it is great that he had so much fun and wants to go again.

I will encourage him to improve. I will teach him what I know about running and long-jump and throwing stuff, but I don't expect him to light up the world. I could be wrong, but I just didn't get the feeling that he would be representing Australia at the Olympics any time soon. He has plenty of time to improve. I am sure that he will.

Well, I got the lecture about self-fulfilling prophecy. And encouraging our children in whatever they want to do. And maintaining a positive outlook.

I reckon everyone has gifts and talents. I think that every child deserves to discover what theirs is. I am all for encouraging and supporting. But if it isn't your thing, it isn't.

One boy in Nugget's class was also competing at the Little A's. He was a natural athlete. He beat the other kids in the 400m by at least 200m. He was a real stand out. One of the other Mum's and I marvelled at his abilities. He is a particularly handsome boy too so we marvelled at the coupling of such skill with those beautiful eyes.

This same boy is still on brown dots (Level 6) in his reading. No-one will probably ever notice that he can't spell his name because he is beautiful and athletic. Those types do okay in life, with or without academic achievement. I'm not saying that Nugget's classmate won't improve with his school work. But few people are good at everything. That is all I am saying.

So while Nugget may not be the next Herb Elliot, at least he has the black dots.

Being a good reader is a good thing.

What do you think?


Lucy said...

I suspect that Nugget and my son Charlie (who is 5) are very very similar. Reading with utter ease but very meh on the sporticus stuff. (And funniky enough, Charlie's nickname is Nugget......)

Maxabella said...

I think that the achievements or lack thereof that children show in Kindergarten don't define them at all. Time will tell where his interests and gifts really lie. You never know. x

x0xJ said...

I am with you, the Nugget is amazing, and in his own way. Leave sports to be fun for him, to be social. That's how i prefer it anyway, because we can't win at everything it life.
And really, while as a child you don't always realise it, as an adult you'd rather the book smarts over the athletic ability.
Besides, the Nugget always has his looks to fall back on ;) (i think he's a cutie!)

life in a pink fibro said...

I'm all about the black dots. Black dots win out in the end. But it's a joy to watch a kid with natural ability in any arena do what they do best. Will look forward to seeing Nugget in full flight next week. :-)

Suzie G said...

Oh definitely! They're good at what they're good at - and there is no changing that. So long as they enjoy whatever they are doing, let them go and have fun.

DancingInTheRain said...

I also think it is wise to know that you cant be good at everything so you can appreciate other peoples talents and your own! I was reading the other day the importance of siblings praising each other and I would like my girls to be able to appreciate and encourage the talents of their sisters. Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent to your post!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I don't think you were out of line with your comments at all. I hope it's a given that as moms we are our children's biggest fans, but I think it's important to try to maintain an ounce or two of objectivity at the same time. Otherwise I think we risk setting our children up with unrealistic expectations that they are the best at everything.

StellaPreston said...

I think it's very unrealistic that a child can be good at everything.

As a parent, we praise the things our children do well, but it would be silly to praise them on things that they don't do very well.
Encourage them to give things a go/keep trying yes, but highlight their real strengths.

Thats what I think anyway :)

Anonymous said...

I was a black dot kid, my sister the social butterfly and my brother the athlete.

I wish that my parents were more of your thinking when we were younger. Now they realise that the black dots were just as great as my brothers sporting achievements, but hindsight is a marvelous thing isn't it xx

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