I posted a recent quote about grit on our facebook page that said, “Grit is sticking with your future day in, day out and not just for a week, not just for a month, but for your years.” – Angela Duckworth.
The end of the school year is here and summer is just around the corner. For many; kids and parents alike; we start to lose steam at the end of the year. Those big class projects and papers are done. At the end of each week, our children seem to be bringing home grocery bags full of their classwork and projects. You think to yourself, “Wow, they did a lot of work.” And “Where am I going to put all this stuff??”
But the end of the school year is a great time to really take a moment to reflect and celebrate the completion of another school year with your child and others. Here are some things I have done over the years that is starting to become routine as the end of the year approaches:
Make some quality time to reflect on the school year.
Ask your children to share with you about what they learned this year, the different ways they learned it, what was challenging them, how they handled those challenges, what made them proud, how they felt they changed, what advice they have for kids entering that grade next year and their best memory of the year. Give several different types of opportunities for them to share. This can be part of your casual dinner or Sunday morning breakfast conversation. If you want more structured ways, give them time to write freely (with no expectation to use perfect punctuation or spelling) about these things or make scrapbooks with pictures taken throughout the year. You can also record a video about it, or create drawings.
Re-identify or Identify Academic Goals with your child.
Did you child have a goal of trying read one million words this past year? Did they strive to get a B+ in their most challenging class? Did your child meet those goals? If so, celebrate! If not, talk about why it didn’t happen and determine what needs to be done to accomplish those things the following year. This is a good time to talk about persistence and how goals take time to accomplish. For older kids, talk about what kind of G.P.A. they hope to have by the end of school year or their high school career. For all ages, make sure goals are written, present, personal, and positive. This can be the case for both academic, career and extra-curricular goals.
Take any failures and turn them into successes.
Think of a few failures your child had this school year. Talk about them openly and without judgment. Discuss how those failures can be reframed into positive experiences. This may require creative thinking at first; especially if failure is given the stigma of being bad. Frame these failures more as a “fail forward.” What did you learn from those experiences that can help you avoid further issues? How can take what you learned and put it into action?
I always remind my children to give their teachers flowers on the last day of school along with a hand written note thanking them for the year. In addition to your teachers, have your child thank others. They could thank another parent who helped take them to school or to an after school activity throughout the year. Remind them that there are many people who would love to be where they are right now. Encourage them to look around and discover just how blessed they are. In every family’s situation there are hardships, but there is always a silver lining if you really look for it. Teaching your children to be thankful and gracious will empower them when they get older to praise all those who have helped get them to where they are. My children have written a nice email, drawn a nice picture and handwritten notes to simply say thank you to those important to them at the end of the year. This practice makes everyone involved feel good.
In true Grit Moms fashion, we must remind ourselves and our children that the end of another school year is not the end of it all. Sure, another great year has passed where goals were accomplished and your child gave her all which is reason to celebrate and recognize. BUT it’s also a time to remind her or him that their great work is not finished, that their long term goals and dreams are still out there and that they must continue to work towards them.