Lessons in Grace

As I sit in my messy office at home, I hear many things: singing, vacuuming, sweeping, some bossy yelling as my kids are tidying the house. They are working hard for the reward of going to a pool this afternoon. However, their task was not simply to tidy the house. They had to GET ALONG while completing the tasks. A tall order for five kids aged 13-4.5. This has been the tone of the summer. Kids (and parents—let’s be real) being bossy, unkind, messy. Apologies. Forgiveness. Grace. Try again. Repeat. Can you relate?

Is this how the cycle of your school year(s) has gone as well? How about as a parent advocate for your child? Have you been too busy putting out fires to prepare for the next one? Did you mean to be more prepared for that meeting and time slipped away? Did you plan to sit down before the beginning of the school year and go through the mountains of paperwork from the school and finally get it organized, but now as summer is nearing it’s close, you’re not sure you have the energy? Have you kicked yourself for not asking for testing for your child yet and are now worried about what this next school year holds and how long the process of getting your child tested or the help s/he needs might take? Are you worried your child might have to fail before receiving the help s/he needs? Are you experiencing anxiety as you read these words? Take a breath. Have grace for yourself.

This morning, I woke up to a calendar alert on my phone. It said “Sub Pilates” at 5:15am. I thought, well, that was last week, not today. I must’ve entered it into my phone wrong. That is, until I received an email checking on me as I was supposed to sub this morning. I felt like garbage. I had totally failed those people who showed up to no instructor. I had failed my colleague for whom I was supposed to sub. I had failed my boss for making sure the class was taught. I emailed my apologies and decided to have grace for myself. Yes, it was a stupid mistake. Yes, I am embarrassed by it. But, as my boss graciously said, I am human and we make mistakes. Now, will I let it hold me back today? Will I choose to become upset and eat my feelings in Spicy Cheeze-It’s and Mountain Dew (just a non-specific example of what *someone* might do)? No. I have a plan in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Grace. Try again. Plan.

Is that what you need to do today for yourself? Can you choose to give yourself grace in those areas in which you feel like you’ve failed your child? In the areas you didn’t know how to do better? In the times you were bossy, messy, unkind? Can you then move forward to come up with a plan to ensure this is the year you are going to advocate better for your child? Have you formulated a plan?

First, you must choose to forgive yourself of all of the “shoulda, woulda, couldas” and move to the “I can and I will” and if I don’t know how, “I will seek help”. Carve out time for a planning session. Put it on your calendar, and stick to it. Invite your spouse/partner/other parent/child if possible. Make your plan. Write it down. Then, break it down into little pieces. You can also write a completion date for each part for which you are responsible.

Here are a few examples, but as I am not sure where you are in the process, yours could be a lot different.

Goal: My child will receive services to help ensure academic and social success (not yet entered into special education services)
Objective: Ask for testing.
1. Gather report cards, work samples, teacher emails
2. Keep track of behaviors/skills that I think are troublesome in order to have data to support my reasoning for asking for testing
3. Write letter to principal explaining why I think testing is necessary
Goal Date: start of school

Goal: My child will receive accommodations for a medical ADD diagnosis
Objective: Ask for a behavioral observation
1. Write teacher and principal to ask for a behavioral observation
2. Request a meeting to discuss challenges and to possibly create a 504
Goal date: September 1

Goal: My child’s teacher will be aware of his challenges associated with dyslexia
Objective: Meet with the teacher
1. Ask for a meeting
2. Provide notes on dyslexia and what does and does not work well for your child
Goal date: September 1

Goal: Be more organized
Objective: Make a complete file binder(s) for your child
1. Gather the papers I have
2. Ask for complete file from the school
3. Organize them chronologically
4. Divide them by year and place in binder
Goal date: Start of school

What is your goal for your student this year? Can Education Champion help to guide you toward that goal? Sometimes, an hour of discussion and direction is all it takes! Call Education Champion today: 309-824-5738.