Tom Sawyer

by mollykl

Son j has a school project due at the end of the month, and it’s completely stressing me out. It’s stressing me out because I want him to do a good job. I want him to want to do a good job. And his idea of a good job and my idea of a good job are not the same.

I realize that one school project is not going to define his entire academic career so I needed to figure out exactly why I was so invested in this. The answer was not pretty, because it has nothing to do with being a good parent and wanting him to do his best. It’s all about looking good in front of the other parents at open house. There, I said it.

Does anyone else find this shit stressful? Quite honestly what I should be focusing on at open house is that my kid learned something this year and made it through the school year without getting in to too much trouble. He has a teacher this year who inspires him and encourages his love of science and math.

I remember his first school project very well, because at open house night I was looking around at the other projects and, well, let’s just say not all of them were done by 1st graders. There was obviously a lot of help from parents. We helped j collect supplies for his, but he had to do the entire thing himself. Likewise for this project: I showed him how to do research on the computer, told him he needed to write down all of his sources, and then husband J showed him how to open a Word document  and save it. He’s in there now, typing away.

Granted, I’ve led him in some directions – “what about putting a picture here, and then you can have the caption typewritten so it’s easier to read?” – but he’s definitely doing this project himself. And I’m just being a bitch.

The sad thing is he’s actually excited about this project (that is until I suck all the fun out of it). He did a great job on his first school project, and when looking around at everyone else’s projects he was appreciative and thought they were cool, but not for one minute did he feel less about his because other’s might have seemed better. That’s the kind of kid he is (he didn’t get that admirable trait from me – I’m hoping to pick it up from him.)

It’s hard to not jump in and help, especially when you know other parents are. It makes me feel like I’m putting j at a disadvantage, at least for now.He might not have the best county project, but he’ll have one he did himself. I just have to remember it’ll be worth it in the long run.

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