'Let Them Know They're Enough'

Just another note about the back-to-school night I attended: The helicopter parents were there in force, and the teachers knew it. My daughter's extended language arts teacher handled it beautifully.

"Extended" means "advanced" -- the higher level version of the class. So naturally, it's a class that includes many, let's say, "intimately involved" parents. Which is good! Really. But there's a line between involved and overbearing. I have to watch where my toe's going. (I'm actually very pleasantly surprised about my daughter getting into the extended language arts class, as she had always been a stronger math mind. But math at her school is another beef for another day; I may find myself tutoring/supplementing on the weekend, so she's not bored.)

But all that to say, this is a class where the students are precocious, and some parents may be obnoxious. God bless 'em . . .

So, my daughter's teacher, Mrs. P., relayed a story to illustrate a point. She said when she first became pregnant, she didn't think, "I hope I have the next president" or "I hope I have the next Olympic gold-medal winner." She said, "I hope that he's healthy -- just that he's healthy." And then "if he ties his shoe, that's a bonus," and "if he graduates high school, that's a bonus." But just that he is, she said, "that's enough. He is enough just as he is, however he is." This is the point where I got a little verklempt.

She noted how she came from Fairfax County, Va., where if you didn't letter/pin in three sports and get nothing but A's, you weren't doing something right; you weren't enough. Meanwhile her mom always let her know she was enough; she loved her as she was, and it made all the difference in Mrs. P's life. She said that she knew the types of students in this class pushed themselves hard. "If they miss a homework assignment, they're in tears," she said. "They don't know if it will be all right."

Mrs. P. then looked at the parents and respectfully asked us always "to let them know that they're enough," no matter what. Wise words.


I remember after my son's almost-fatal accident that I went through the same stages as Mrs. P. did, in a matter of months. I hoped he would live; I hoped he would awaken from his coma; I hoped he would be able to walk and talk and eat and feed himself and remember; ... The problem is that he got back all of that, and more - but now he wants to be back exactly where he was, and anything less is unacceptable. And I want all that for him, also. But it isn't going to be. It explains a lot of my own frustration with the world: wishing it could be like back in the Garden of Eden, where things didn't go wrong all the time, and people and animals didn't die. It shouldn't be the way it is, and that's horrendously frustrating. But for the moment anyway, it has to be just like this. I'm starting to understand how Samson felt when he was bald and blind and between the pillars of the temple of Dagon. I'm starting to understand why David wrote Psalm 51. It can't be like it was, and it's my fault. But I feel God looking down on us, like he did on Samson and on David, wanting us to know we're "enough".
How wonderful that this teacher had the courage to speak such a message to parents. I hope it settled in. Thanks for sharing!
Good at math AND language. I'm green with envy. I mean, congratulations! :-) (But I do get the point -- she would be enough in any case!)
What an excellent, and for me timely, message. I'm about to take over the responsibility of a small youth ministry at my church, and want to make sure to convey this message to them over and over again. Thank you, and please thank your daughter's teacher for helping me to find the words.

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