Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.You may give them your love but not your thoughts.For they have their own thoughts.You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For every mother who must have seen and passionately believed in what she thinks are potentials of her wee little baby (even before the tiny tot begins to show such signs) discovering her kid doing below par in school is way disheartening. You can ask me. Containing such frustrations is no joke.
I know she's not me.
By theory, I should not take out all on my daughter my old dreams that remained unreached until now. I lived my younger years constantly trying to make my mamma proud. And I guess for the most part I did just that. In fact, I overly did it that I unconsciously buried my personal dreams. I was a constant honor student but I wanted to do more. I gathered I was too hesitant, probably too bashful to own every opportunity that presented itself to me.
Then God gave me a daughter. I thought I find her interestingly vocal and linguistically skilled. But then again I am the mother. To a mother her offspring would always be the stand-out one in the crowd. That's how her eyes see. That's how her heart chooses to see. Now I understand every parent who sheds tears to teachers for the kid that never gets the grade the kid deserves.
I got the same frustration when I got the news that my daughter did not do much academically in school last March. The one who took the highest rank in class is the one who was so quiet but really prim and proper in class. Now there, I can accept that. She would never beat that kid. My daughter's stunts in class are more like that of an ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) child. One would think she would never run out of steam. She gets too bossy and doesn't want to stay in her seat for more than 5 minutes, hence, she would never pass for the teacher's pet category.
Now let's look at the performance in her day-to-day classroom activities in school. The teacher said she's very good in reading and oral but too poor in writing. Well, that hurts a bit. But that's okay. I know she needs to grow in time especially in her psycho motor skills. But still, at this point, I couldn't believe that she's only fourth honors as there are only 6 students in her class. I couldn't even begin to imagine that she's just an average girl in the room. A mother dreams--very ambitious dreams--at that. This is especially that she used to have her dreams within her grasp if not for her weak heart so to speak. And now with a daughter whose skill supersedes that of her mother's is good news. So I thought.
Then one of my elders in church told me right to my face that my daughter needs to develop her study habit seriously with me, the mom. She might have the talent but such skill in hard work and study must be cultivated seriously with a parent who can match her stubborness (in this case, me, the more persistent parent) before it's too late. Or else, she wouldn't stand a chance in the competitive world of academics. At first, I got so incensed by such disbelief in my daughter's capability. But despite the hurt that is brought on by that comment, some sense came home to me. I come home at 9 at night after my work and tutorials in the pursuit of staying above water on the daily basis sad to say leaving the chores to my husband to tutor her and have her finish her assignments every night. Until I found out that my husband could not wield the stubborn head of my strong-willed daughter that she ended up not studying enough.
Then this summer came. I enrolled her in a private prep school offering reading as the curriculum for the summer. Despite the tuition fee that rocked my wallet, I jumped in to the idea of trying a different environment for my little princess. At the teacher's diagnostic observation, she said, she needed to put her to a basic reading course which they call "Rookie Campers" class. She can perfectly identify letters and their sounds but a four-year-old should now be able to read the CVC words which she cannot. Of course, her former school has not taught her that yet to my dismay.
So, sadly she had to repeat the ABC sounds for the entire summer. Then the second week of her school came. I had to have her study as her quizzes seem to drop unlike her first week. It was a revelation. My little girl has a hard time recalling the sequence of the letters of the alphabet--that she would rather play while studying or better yet just play all the time. Perhaps, my elder friend was right. She has not developed her study skills. But then again, maybe, like I was in my elementary years, I started showing my skills way late. I was never an honor student when I was in the fourth grade although I thought I was better than the third honors in class. Then I was first honorable mention in my elementary graduation, magna cum laude and cum laude in college. It wasn't an easy ride but I did it as a scholar.
Although I'm being careful not to expect my daughter to attain what I got (which I did the tough way), I was still silently believing and hoping she would match or outdo my stunts hence, my frustration at her inability to exert effort and get serious with her academics.
A teacher that I am has tons and tons of strategies in our belt and almost always they work with my students. But they seem to never work with my little Shekinah.
But I remember patience. Along with love, I remember patience with my daughter's pacing. As I said, she's not me. She never got the pressure and stress I once had as a sad child. That said, from now on, I will be there before the day turns night to salvage what is possible. If it doesn't work, my faith in her tells me she will make me proud one day. It may not be in the near future. But she will.
I will not forget this: she is not her mother. She will never be. She came from me. But she's not mine. At least, with Shekinah, I can say what Kahlil Gibran wanted to say. My daughter is not my own.
She owns her future. I don't. But I am here as a steward who is tasked to watch what is lent to me by the Omnipotence, the Father of all fathers, and mothers, that is.