I just finished reading a post by my good friend at school whose son wanted to make a "different kind of valentine box". He chose to make a serpent box and my friend posted pictures of her dad and son working on it. I was a spectacular effort. As I read the comments, however, my friend said that her son's teacher was less than complementary about the box and he was crushed.
I am a teacher as well and I try really hard not to say anything to discourage young people's artistic afforts. Sometimes it's hard. I have heard kids sing solos that I'm sure Simon Cowell would have made merciless comments.
I know that perception and intention can often conflict. I recently had a student that was having a hard time getting going on his instrument and I got a note from his mom saying that he thought I had given up on him. I felt so bad. I had NOT given up but simply wondered if he had given up on himself. I had had several kids quit band recently and thought he would be next. My ego was wounded. His perception of himself was skewed.
After getting the parent note, I gave him a big pep talk and he returned the next week able to play his instrument better than he had ever done. The kids and I cheered for him and he was so proud. I pronounced him a player and now he is. His mom is very pleased.
Was I at fault? Centainly not intentionally. All I can do is go on and learn my lesson. All kids need support all the time for their efforts. So do adults.
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