Parenting Guru: All I really need to know I learned in third grade



Dear Mrs. Teacher,

The school year started out rough, thank goodness you never read this post (whew!). Our love connection took a little a lot longer than expected as my son struggled with your...how do I say this politely...badass approach to discipline. Just when I feared we'd never find our way, we began to learn a few lessons from you, difficult lessons, lessons that went way beyond quadrilaterals (although those were hard too).

"Your grades are your paycheck." You started out the year with this statement and continued to use it at every opportunity. While I questioned whether your boss/employee approach to teaching was ill-suited for 8 year olds, I've seen my son mature into a young man with integrity, accountability and well, a paycheck. A+

Good grades are for you. We all want our kids to get good grades, but even more than that we want our kids to want good grades. My son went from a kid who earned decent grades to stay out of trouble to one who wanted to earn good grades for himself (or at least to nab the Smarties you gave out in class). Smarties, clever Mrs. Teacher. A+

Cute doesn't cut it. Admittedly, my son has gotten away with a lot from teachers over the years on account of his ridiculously long eyelashes and boyish charms. Mrs. Teacher, you must have seen your share of charms because from day one it was clear you expected more. You were right to expect more from my son, knowing he had so much more to give. You somehow even managed to get him to expect more from himself. A+

We're a team. As much as I met your tough exterior with great reservation (and yes, fear), the more we connected, the softer (and less scary) you became. While we differ radically in our approach to discipline, we share a common vision for my son. I find it oddly wonderful that I never struggled more with a teacher, but maybe that was because no other teacher ever cared as much. A+

My son and I are taking away huge life lessons from the odyssey that is 3rd grade.

You knew, often better than I, what it took to shape my son into the young man he needed to be to tackle 4th grade successfully. It's been a long year filled with tears, frustration, maturity, self-discovery and ultimately, victory. And not just for my son.

You're tough Mrs. Teacher, but you're good. Really good.

Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for the love. Thank you for expecting more…from both of us.

Sincerely,

Mommyfriend

What life lessons have you learned from the teachers in your life?

Mommyfriend goes by Lori Garcia in real life and is a Shine Parenting Guru. She writes at www.mommyfriend.com where she's busy finding perfection in imperfection daily. When she's not folding laundry she's a Featured Parenting Contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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