Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Doing our best

When DH and I first married, he began to teach me how ineffectual "woulda shoulda coulda" thinking is. Recently I've learned another aspect of how to relate to choices we have made. We have to believe in ourselves, and we have to believe that we are doing our best - especially when it comes to our kids. We are doing our best given the resources, information, support and other demands that we have. We are doing our best and if our best is not sufficient, well, that's OK too. Because we cannot possible do better than our best. We don't have to apologize. We don't have to feel guilty. We don't have to kill ourselves emotionally or physically. If at a later point we are fortunate enough to be able to try something different because we learned more, experienced more or something in our environment changed, that's great. Try again. But if we are doing our best that's ALL WE CAN DO.

When child #1 was about to start 9th grade she went to her math tutor for some review. The math tutor was adamant that there was no reason why child #1 should not be in the highest math class (5 yechidot) . When she took the test, she tested into the middle math class (4 yechidot) . For months she struggled in that class. She liked the teacher. She tried to do the homework. But it was too hard for her in a class with well over 30 girls. She stopped doing the homework, started skipping class, and eventually was failing out. She moved down to the lowest class (3 yechidot) . What did we learn from it? That she could be in the highest class - if she would be the only student in the class. That even doing her best, being in the middle class was too much of a challenge, given all the other factors in her life and the actual classroom environment. So it's completely OK that she's in the lowest class. There's no issue of "not living up to her potential" because she is doing her best and this is where her best can take her at this moment.


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