It’s report card season again. Soon my timeline will be full of my friends sharing photos of happy children holding cards that say “A” and posts about how proud they are of their clever children.
And I’ll be happy for them, I really will. I’ll join in their celebrations with them, write encouraging things, but I won’t be sharing my child’s grades online.
And we’re so, so proud of those C’s.
On our Parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess, host Holly Wainwright sits down with mum of two, Julie Jones, to chat about her son Braden’s life with Cerebral Palsy. Post continues below.
We’re proud of every new things she learns, the new skills she masters even if it’s years behind her peers and we are always so proud of how hard she tries. Autism teaches you to rejoice in the little things. We don’t celebrate report cards, team sports wins and school leadership roles.
We celebrate her remembering to hand in her homework for the first time this year.
The trouble is that they do it on a Friday morning when the classroom is being set up for next week. It’s full of new objects, new colours. There’s a weekly spelling test in five minutes to worry about. There is a new lesson on the board, you are chatting about weekend plans with your friends and there is even an amazing new smell because someone has changed their deodorant.
So many senses all being stimulated at once and apparently a child is supposed to be able to concentrate enough through this excitement to get a homework folder out of their bag? Lol! Not likely. There’s no report card category for “overcoming sensory overload and following instructions even though concentrating takes every bit of your strength”.
We celebrate participation. We celebrate this so, so much.
There is always someone complaining about “participation awards” because apparently we’ve allowed children to get soft, apparently we teach them not to try.
No, you’ve missed the point. My child is never going to win first place. But her being confident enough to compete, to try something new is enough to bring me to tears. Tears of real pride. There’s no report card category for “trying something new and stepping out of your comfort zone”.
We celebrate kindness.
At her school’s cupcake fundraiser I sent her in with jelly, because I’m both lazy and unskilled in the kitchen. Luckily kids love jelly and her stall sold out first.