Work B*tch

A couple of weeks ago, the best thing that could ever happen to my son happened.

He lost.

Before you call the crappy mom police, let me clarify a little.

The kid does know about losing.  He played pee-wee football for 3 years, without one single winning season.  He may have seen the Red Sox win more series than his grandmother (S-3, G-0) but he’s had his heart broken by the Pats in the Superbowl. Twice.

Even academically, his team didn’t do nearly as well as they should have in the Battle of the Books, because they refused to read a couple of the books.  It’s hard to answer questions when you haven’t done the work.

This was a competition called You Be The Chemist, for 5th-8th graders. We know for sure that he was not the youngest kid there, because his best friend is a week younger than he… but at 10, they are young 5th graders.  But for the last few months, that best friend’s mom took a group of 5 5th graders, and taught them basic chemistry. One of those kids was a really sweet kid who I know worked hard at reading and I have a feeling put a lot more time into it than S. He did the reading, and showed up for the “group instruction” with his friends, but I’m pretty sure the other kid actually STUDIED.  My kid was the only one from his group to advance from the 100 or so kids to take the written “local” round, and into the electronic “state” round of 30 kids.  {{Pause for maternal pride in my smart kid}}

The next cut was from 30 to 16. And that’s where he was eliminated. But he actually handled it SO well. I think I may have been just as proud in that moment as I was when he advanced.

All of the other SES parents told me that “My kid always talks about how smart S is! I’m sure he’ll do great!”  And although I was polite, smiled, said, “Thank you!” But what I WANTED to say was, “Yes, he is smart. But can you ask your children to stop telling him that?”

I am proud of his brains, but much like my years of being “smart,” I don’t think that’s the best compliment. We do nothing to earn our ability to learn. I would rather hear that he is a hard worker, which is hard when so much comes easily.

For me, and I believe for him, things are so much more rewarding when they are earned, not simply given.

And this weekend I heard from another parent whose son has only met mine a couple of times. “S is the nicest boy I’ve ever met!”

There’s a compliment that a mom can be proud of!

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