I’m not sure if I have abnormally high expectations naturally or if I have just had good experiences that raise them to a new level, but they cause me to be a little intense sometimes.
We were so fortunate to have found great teachers for our kids in South Phoenix. Maybe they wouldn’t have been great for everyone, but they were the right fit for our kids and that was a huge blessing for me. I am not an educator by profession, although I was mistaken for one recently by a principal on a school tour and found it quite amusing. The fact that I have not had formal training in teaching makes me feel a little inadequate about being my children’s primary teacher and therefore I look to outside experts to help fill in the gaps.
We were blessed to have landed in the laps of Ms. Krysten and Mr. Andy at Rogers Ranch Preschool, a spot with great energy and an environment suited to Cooper’s learning style with room to grow. After visiting several preschools in our new area trying to find the right one, we decided on the one Coop currently attends. It offers the opportunity to learn about things he hadn’t been exposed to before, but lacks a few of the things that were great in the previous environment. I’m learning that the “perfect” environment just may not exist, although I feel we had it at one time.
Music is important in our family. I want my children to be exposed to great music and jumped on the chance to participate in the “Let’s Play Music” program. Again, Cooper thrived, loving the new things he was learning and it trickled down to the little ones as well who sing the songs and practice the exercises that teach about the staff and notes. Perhaps a simple appreciation of how music works should be enough, but I can’t be satisfied with that when I know these children are capable of so much more. I want them to know as much as they can, especially when they are enjoying the learning process.
After a round of swimming lessons at the city pool in Sophx, we found Miss Erin. I’ll be honest and say that she was not heaven-sent for everyone, but she sure was for us. She took fear and hesitation and turned it into confidence and skill and a little boy who was thrilled to do the butterfly like Michael Phelps on tv. He loves it, and again that same enthusiasm has rubbed off on his younger siblings and what a fantastic thing, to have kids who love to swim and can do it well. We jumped into the swim season late here after our move and it has taken some trial and error in finding the right teacher, only to find that we’re a little late in the game and need to practice some patience.
I have learned in searching for the right spots for my kids the past couple of months that I’m a better teacher for them than I realized and that I know what I’m looking for and if I can’t find it, I may just need to provide it myself. I have finally found an elementary school that feels “right” for our Kindergarten debut next year, but even that isn’t perfect. It will be great for him and I will need to trust that the teacher who has my baby for a few hours has his best interest at heart and the few things he may be missing at school can easily be taught at home.
As I have searched for the perfect Miss Erin, I have learned a few things…first, she is one-of-a-kind. Second, she was more of a teacher to me than I realized. I know the things I want my kids to know and if another teacher can’t provide all of that, I have learned how to do it from watching her. We went to observe a teacher today that has the potential to be great for my kids, and I hope to high heaven that it works out, but if it doesn’t, I’m ok spending the time in the pool with my kids so they learn how to do it right.
Amy was commenting to me a while ago that her sis-in-law is a “lesson person.” I guess I am too. If someone else knows how to teach it better than I do, I’m happy to let them. On the other hand, I see the benefit in letting them figure a few things out on their own and sharing the things I know with them. I don’t want to go through life always having unrealistic expectations for my children, but I also know they are capable of amazing things. They are like little sponges right now and I believe that the line in my patriarchal blessing that states, “take advantage of the opportunities you have,” applies to my children as well. I know there is a balance between overdoing it and offering just enough for them to thrive, and I’ll find it. I may drive Denten completely up the wall as I overanalyze every option, but in the end the Spirit speaks and knows what is best for my kids. They are happy and healthy and awesome. And it’s my job to make sure it stays that way.