Thursday, September 29, 2016

Reexperiencing Failure in Advance

I would change this quote just a little bit, by omitting the last sentence.

On the evening before first grade, Jordan was so worked up that she cried. We talked about how even Grandma Weeze had trouble sleeping sometimes, and many kids (and even teachers) worry the night before the first day of school. She looked over at Kayla who was sound asleep and said “Kayla doesn't look nervous.” No she didn't. And she was starting kindergarten. So very different.

Jordan enjoyed her first day, and I had to laugh when she told me she was excited because the work seemed like "it would be harder." One time I was reading to her and I accidentally said the word “certainly” instead of “curiously” and she corrected me. She was in first grade. I doubted the academic curriculum was going to challenge her, but that was fine with me. The reading, math, and rule following, those came naturally to her. But she was faced with her own, different types of challenges.

She would watch her cousins play video games instead of playing with them. She would stand on the curb while the kids at the bus stop played catch. And none of the kids ever caught the ball. She would rather observe kids playing soccer, than join in. One day I decided to ask her about her reluctance. Knowing she probably wouldn't be forthright, I gave her three choices for a possible answer. They were:

1. She doesn't like her friends.
2. She thinks the games are dumb.
3. She is afraid to mess up.

Bingo. Failure in advance.

She chose choice 3. She would rather watch other kids, than "do it the wrong way". It killed me to see her so hard on herself. I didn't want her to watch the world go by, while she stood on the sidelines. Yes, this sounds dramatic, but I knew her. She was smart, focused, strong, fast, coordinated, and had such potential. She appeared to excel at most everything she attempted, after getting past the initial uncertainty.

So why all the insecurity and self doubt? I had no idea back then, but I curiously... I mean I certainly, know why today. Anxiety.

Thank you.

Us Too

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