I feel proud of my fourteen years old daughter. Months ago I caught her frustrated and stressed. Inquiring the reasons, she complained from a school project and how hard it was and taking from her very long time. I advised her to set an amount of time for it and to move to another task as soon as the time ends. She replied with tears in her eyes: “But I won’t reach the highest level if I do so.” “And then, don’t. Just do the best you can in the time you have.” Her tears rolled down and she went on: ” But my brother got a seven; the highest level.” Her words made me reflect on our educational system. How a school project left her frustrated, made her doubt her abilities and feel little compared to her sibling. We had a deep talk, I praised her for all what she was; an active human being who serves others passionately, a life long learner who learns Spanish beside her English, French, Arabic, and school work, an active teen who joins various camps and volunteer in extra-curricular events, a tender daughter and a cooperative family member. I advised her to listen to her inner voice, to identify who she wishes to become based on her unique potentials and her own interests and to rethink of her priorities; giving each task in her life the time and the effort relevant to its value and significance for her.
Last weekend I observed her and felt proud. I saw an ambitious teenager who joined a leadership camp dreaming to become a compassionate counselor who inspires other children and teens. Driving her to the camp session, she invested her time to finish her tons of homework, disciplining herself to study and work on her way back and forth. She seemed happier, less stressed and on top of her life.
I felt satisfied as a parent, not crushing my daughter so that she gets high grades, encouraging her to be herself, to live her life, to learn, to develop, to enjoy, to go through new experiences, to dream, to explore and on top of all to serve. School for me as a parent is a mean not an end and it should never be.