We had a 4th grade parent meeting at school and were discussing how the kids seem to be getting angry when we, as parents, try to help them with their homework. “That’s not how the teacher wants us to do it.” Seems to be a common statement in many homes right now, and the teachers were clarifying that, while this is age appropriate, it is not true.
The fact is, with the new Common Core Curriculum, the more ways they learn how to do something the better. The problem is that at this age their uncertainty in themselves turns to a fear of being seen as lacking. What to us seems like help, to them feels like judgment.
This idea that help represents a comment on our ability can follow us into adulthood. As a writer I definitely sometimes feel like this when my work is being critiqued. Our first response can often be to claim the other person doesn’t understand. In fact, you should hear me bicker with Word’s grammar checker when it points out all of the fragments in my writing.
But pride, whether in our academic knowledge, appearance, or social standing, comes at a sever cost. Something I was reminded of while watching Gone with the Wind over the last couple of nights.
I guess it has been a while since I have watched the movie in its; entirety. Or perhaps I now have the maturity to better analyze it. Whatever the reason, I found myself both sympathetic to and disgusted by Scarlett. Pride makes us say and do the very worst things. Like this statement by Scarlett:
“You know it's yours. I don't want it any more than you do. No woman would want a child of a cad like you... I wish for anybody's child but yours.” (Gone with the Wind- By Margaret Mitchell)
We know this is a lie, just as she knows it is a lie. She missed him when he was gone and had been excited to tell him about the baby… until he told her he planned to leave again. Then, in order to save her pride, she said this awful thing to him.
Pride, though, is a difficult companion to let go of. Like the shell on an armadillo, we feel like pride protects us from the weakness of our own insecurities. So how do we help our children, or ourselves, find the courage to move beyond its hold?
Louisa May Alcott wrote, in Little Women, “… for love casts out fear, and gratitude can conquer pride.”
And so, my gratitude for the gift of being able to write means that I even accept a computer telling me that my grammar needs improvement. And my gratitude that I get to share my daughter’s learning means that I can sit
through her angry accusations of my own inequities without it becoming about me.
What are you grateful for? Has pride ever kept you from something you really wanted? I love to hear from my readers. And to prove it, I am giving away my left-over Thanksgiving meal to one commenter during the month of November. :>) Just kidding. Actually… I will donate $10 to the (non-political) charity of your choice if you win the November drawing. Just leave a comment for any of my posts and check back at the end of the month to see if you are the lucky winner.