As a mom I’ve been wrong. I proved it.
A few years back my younger son was studying the space program. I told him that an Apollo 13 astronaut radioed to NASA headquarters on earth, “Houston, we have a problem.” My son disagreed. He was sure the astronaut had said something else.
Certain that I was correct, I offered to look it up. You know, to reveal the truth, my truth. I just knew I was right. I’d heard the line so many times.
After my research was completed, I called my son over and told him that it had taken me a while to find the original NASA transcripts online. I wasn’t going to trust this to Wikipedia. I had a point to prove and needed reliable documentation, not IMDB.
From the NASA site, we listened to the original transmission, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Then I showed him the second source, on a .gov site, that had the printed transcript, ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem.’ Clearly it was in the past tense! In fact, past perfect.
The reality was that I was wrong, and I acknowledged it to him. I told him that prior to learning the truth, I would have bet all the cash in my purse on what I believed to be true! I watched him watching me as I thanked him, gratefully because I learned something that I never would have questioned. It was a relief.
It ended up being a big moment as something happened I hadn’t foreseen.
Now at our house, whenever uncertainty arises, skepticism and curiosity follow. My sons run to find a charged device to search for primary sources to distinguish fact from opinion or popularity. They have fact checked farmed raised salmon, cell provider charges, and now that, Parker, my older son will be voting next fall, he’s identifying what’s true and not in the political world.
I can tell you that they think much more critically than before the ‘night of truth,’ as we call my Apollo 13 awakening. I like that it sparked them to be bold and relentless in their quest for truth.
School’s starting, and the contrast between summer’s casualness and school’s structure is palpable. Your child and you are not strangers to this overnight dichotomy. This makes now prime time for chatting about how the school year will play out.
Consider setting targets. When we watch Katniss Everdeen shoot, she knows exactly where each arrow will hit. While our lives are not on the survival scale of hers, we appreciate the value of having a specific target. I urge you to collaborate* with your child to establish earning a specific grade for each class. Your child can achieve the agreed upon goals such as that 98 in Math – the favorite subject, 92 in Language Arts – the most challenging, and on down the list. Defining a target makes hitting it more likely. And, it maximizes your child’s achieving, learning and working potential.
Consider setting homework time. The purpose is for your child to solely focus on learning and mastery without interruptions or distractions. Having a set time to convert fractions into decimals, practice scales on the French horn, or work on projects is beneficial. In addition to acquiring knowledge and skills, it fosters time management, organization, and study skills. Combined, these contribute to bringing the targeted grades (above) to fruition. I encourage the two of you to set specific homework time while you’re collaborating on grade targets.
Consider the future. For all that is learned and experienced from working hard, children grow to be reliable, responsible, and self-starters. This vigor converts to outstanding lifelong habits and practices. The other bright side is that, in the doing, children, your child acquires confidence, competence, and autonomy. This is all because of your influence and inspiration!
Here’s to the best year yet!
*Click here for a collaboration visual.