Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A boring post where I brag about my kid and say I hope I can keep them humble

I just got Will's report card and I didn't want to brag on my own blog--so can I brag on here?  I know, it's annoying.  It was interesting because I know that Will is pretty smart but I live with him so I just think he's normal and then I got his report card and remembered, Oh yeah, he's kind of smart.  Not to put myself down or anything, but I just never had experiences like this growing up.  To Mike it's normal--he's report cards were always showing he was advanced (except for the time they told him he was dumb and put him in remedial classes...).  Anyway, I was not naturally intelligent and I had to work hard for it and even then, I did not get scores like this.  So it's weird to me that my boys are so smart.  I'm grateful, it's just weird.  I've talked to Mike about it in the past and we were very different students.  I worked really hard for my 3.98 GPA and it was not easy.  Mike did not work hard at all and didn't do assignments and just passed with flying colors.  Now, he's a really hard worker in school but before, he just didn't even try.  I personally would love my sons to have my work ethic in high school and Mike's natural ability.  

So, to hopefully achieve that goal, we started reading a book called Mindset.  It is a good book.  Mike finished it but I haven't yet.  I basically says that if you praise their natural ability or call them "smart" it actually makes them preform worse.  The thought being that they don't want to try harder for fear that they will fail.  If you praise their effort, then they will do much better.  So, even though I am saying to you all that Will (and Isaac and Eli) are smart, I am not going to be saying that to them.  Mike really liked the book and what I've read of the book I like too.  It also talks about famous sports guys and how some do so well because their effort was praised not their ability. You should check the book out and tell me what you think.

Anyway, to give you an idea of Will's performance:

He is above grade level in Reading and Math.  He's performing at a high proficiency in Spanish and Social Studies and then at grade level for everything else.  Though, his writing stinks.  He really needs to work harder in that area (his letters and numbers are all backwards and he just schooshes every word together with no spaces.  He actually got worse in that area).

For his reading his scores were as follows:  (I wrote the benchmark score, or score he needs to be at to be proficient, and then his actual score)

Letter naming fluency/Phonics:  37, 60
Phonemic Awareness:  35, 46
Nonsense word fluency/Phonics: 50, 84
Reading fluency:  40, 84
Retell: 10, 38

Again, Will's scores were the second number compared to the benchmark which is first.

I'm not writing this to be like, "Guys, my kid is so much smarter than every  one else's kid" because I know that isn't true--I know how smart all your kids are--but rather to say that it is not a normal thing for me.  It just was not one of my gifts to be naturally smart.  He's been my son for for almost seven years but still, he will say things to me and I'll look at him and think, "Where the heck did you come from?"  I wouldn't say Will is proud  but he certainly isn't humble about it.  His teacher said to him, "Will, I don't want you to answer.  You know all the answers and probably know everything I know."  He said, "Well, not everything, but most stuff."  So, back to the Mindset book.  What ways do you guys keep your kids humble with their school work, sports, musical abilities, or whatever they are talented in?

(Isaac is doing really well in school too but I haven't seen his report card yet so that's why this is about Will. Even though, I should mention that Isaac seems to have more of what I am hoping for all my boys--he is a very, very hard worker.  He is much more particular than Will is and I think in the end, that will get him further in life)


Lokodi said...

Great job Will!! Those scores are wonderful. I'm not surprised though. Even if you only get to talk to him for five minutes, you can already tell how bright he is.

I can't really help you on advice about being humble. It was never one of my strong points, nor is it one of my kids strong points. My hubby has it mastered though. I think his way of staying humble is just not to say anything. :)

I'm a little worried about Gabe and his learning abilities. I know that sounds really bad, but that kid can't seem to learn his numbers to save his life. Both Hans and I want to pull our hair out when we work with him. However, when it comes to sports, that kid has got some serious talent. I keep saying he's going to be our money ticket on day. Generally, I think a little pride in your abilities is a very good, natural, and healthy outlook. You need a little pride to keep you going. However, no one likes that one kid that's always bragging or telling other kids how to do it the correct way. I really can't tell you any good tricks. When my kids get a little too prideful (or bragging) I just tell them it might hurt the other kids feelings if you keep showing off (or something to that affect).

Congrats to Will.

P.S. I think we're all allowed to brag about our kids every once in a while. That's what a good parent does. Taking pride in our kids is important.

Mike and Adrianne said...

About Gabe's learning numbers--Eli doesn't know his numbers too well either, or letters yet. He was counting on Monday and kept saying things like eleventeen, one hundred-teen, etc.

I noticed with Isaac that he also had a harder time picking up his colors and numbers but then one day it was like he blinked and he knew them all suddenly. I think you might see that with Gabe too.

And, one time Will got a free assessment on base and the lady giving the test said that often when a child is excelling in one area you might see a digression in another because their brain is putting so much effort into learning the other thing. She said you might see this the most in gross motor and language skills. So, if Gabe is really doing well in sports right now, that might explain what seems like a lack of ability in another area and then you might see that he suddenly starts learning the numbers. I just thought that was interesting and I've noticed that with my kids.

And, as a side note, I don't know how my kids will do in the sports area. They like them but when I ask them if they want to try a sport they just say no. I think I might try and get them back into Kung Fu or swimming (both things they love) or convince them to try soccer this year or something.

Dave and Tana said...

Tiger mom!

Mike and Adrianne said...

This shows how dumb I am but I actually haven't heard the phrase "tiger mom" before!

Mike and Adrianne said...

I just looked it up on google. And, I know you well enough to know that you are kidding (you better be!) so I'm not offended. But, i am going to say anyway for anyone that might think I am a tiger mom, that you are wrong. Very wrong. Though, I see that this post could possibly seem like I am a little. But if you know me well at all then you know I am far from a tiger mom. If I was, I would glue all my kids pictures for them, make Will write all his backwards letter and numbers over until they were perfect, make them shower every single night, NOT let them wear their clothes on backwards. I'd make them take piano lessons, soccer, Kung Fu, baseball, etc. I'd also NOT hang their "masterpieces" in my kitchen for all to see, and I wouldn't let them have their silly Christmas Ornaments. Just to name a few of the things that would have to change about me.

I DO want them to work hard and I am very proud of them in their natural abilities, but I do NOT expect perfection from them. I want them to be free to express themselves while learning boundries and hard work. We ARE strict parents (ask Gillian, she's afraid of us) but we also try to pour our love out on them freely.

So, no tiger mom.

And again, I know you and your humor and know you are kidding. And if you aren't, I'm going to get my tiger claws out and get you man!!

Love you Davey-boy

Dave and Tana said...

I am most definitely kidding age. I am however a tiger dad for sure! I always am showing up others on how physically and mentally she tramps the other baby's her age! It's fun!

Mike and Adrianne said...

Dave, I like you

Lokodi said...

This is Hans posting...
I am currently reading one of my Christmas presents, Poor Charlie's Almanac, a slobbery tribute to an investing/business genius in the same vein as Ben Franklin, and in the book Charlie says he believes there is also merit in the pharisee's viewpoint in the parable of the pharisee and the publican, which is that patting yourself on the back for good behavior and relishing the avoidance of mistakes made by others is a good thing to do. There is also a parenting view out there that taking excessive pride in your family and pointing out the mistakes of others is a way to inspire success in your kids, ie, "remember kids you are a lokodi (or a richards), and we are much too good for that, just look at the poor choices that other family is making, we don't want to do that".
I think there is merit in this way of thinking but in small doses.

Someone I work shows tendencies of a tiger mom, and it makes me feel a sense of competition, not unhealthy. It prompts the question both for myself and my children, is what I'm doing improving me or my kids? or am I just wasting time? Sports are worthwhile activities but as they get older I will definitely emphasize academics as more valuable an activity than sports. thoughts?

Gillian Mohlman said...

Hans, I started watching this show called dance moms from the lifetime channel, and I am telling you what.. they ALL take excessive pride in their children and teach their children to have it too- and then the children at 6 years old are competing against eachother to prove who is better. They even have what is called a 'pyramid' of pictures each week as they get to dance and the teacher puts them in a pyramid according to who performed the best that week and who was the worst. So The teacher is always telling others negative things about the kids who aren't at the top so because of that it's just like a big yell fest and pride war. I hate how mean the instructor is and unfortunately, that is probably how a LOT of people are out in the world.

It's an interesting show but it just makes me want to scream! Growing up my mom never got mad at us if we didn't have straight A's- as long as we were trying, than that was good enough. And I couldn't be more grateful for that because I am NOT smart. I really struggle in academics. I can't imagine having a parent who thought my best wasn't good enough.

I do agree though, academics are important and will ultimately get you farther in life than sports (unless you become a pro or something).

I have to disagree with your statement saying there is merit in the way of thinking... "remember kids you are a lokodi (or a richards), and we are much too good for that, just look at the poor choices that other family is making, we don't want to do that". I think that teaches them to look negatively on others and I think there would be more beneficial ways to teach/inspire success in a childs life. I think that would teach the kids to compare and compete and I hate the thought of my child treating another child with a negative attitude or not accepting them because their parents think they are 'better than them' in a sense.

just some thoughts about it. :)

Mike and Adrianne said...

Hans, I do agree that there is merit in teaching our kids to aspire to something. I think kids need limits and rules and also goals to reach. I also see your point in saying, "We are a Richards and we are better than that." I think Gillian's issue with it is trying to make yourself better than someone else. But I think if you tell them that your family has certain expectations that is good. God wants us to be perfect--but he also allows us time (eternity really) to become a God. I think that is obviously the best example. He expects perfection but expects it as a loving father who knows we will make mistakes and that perfection takes time to reach. I think if we follow that example we can in fact expect the best from our children but also recognize that they are children and as they try their best then we can be satisfied with their efforts and performance. I think maybe if we are a cat mom, instead of a Tiger mom... ;) Anyway, yes, I find some merit in helping your kids aspire to better--even guiding them to make better choices (pointing out their mistakes) but I think it matters HOW you do that. I think it's important to inspire change through love not through a demanding expectation.

Lokodi said...

Gilly and Mike/Adrianne,
Good thoughts, one of the dangerous side effects in the "pride" model is the potential to become a complete jerk, that's why I say it is good only in small doses. But competition is definitely a part of life that kids need to be prepared for, even and especially in the army, especially now in the face of reductions. Teaching the "how" of learning from others' mistakes is difficult to do gracefully as children (and others) can misinterpret that as meanness.


Mike and Adrianne said...

Hans, I agree with you. I think competition is good for kids--not only does it teach them how to work for a goal, but it teaches them how to deal with disappointments when they lose. And then when they win, you can teach them how to be humble about it while still being proud (grateful) for their abilities.