I remember really pushing my oldest 22 years ago during her kindergarten year. I was young, had just recently finished my master's degree (in education, no less) and was determined to succeed. There was stress and there were tears. We finished kindergarten in one semester and went on to first grade.
As the years went on I learned to relax (relaxing is relevant, isn't it?) a little bit and now we are at the point where our soon-to-be seven year old is not reading. He is still in the very early decoding stage. Still writes some letters and numbers backwards and generally writes his name in all caps. He also has some speech delays. Although I tell myself it's okay and I know in a couple of years he will most likely be caught up, I do occasionally find myself wondering if it really IS okay. Those are the times he heads upstairs to the Sunday school class room with other six year olds and I pray the teacher doesn't expect them all to be able to read. I silently beg the other children not to make fun of his speech delays. I hope he isn't written off as a dummy. I cringe inside as my sister sits down to play Slap Jack with him and instead asks him to spell the numbers on the cards. I smile on the outside, but inside I wonder what she thinks.
I remind myself of what he can do. He loves to be read to. He loves to look at books. He is advanced in his gross motor skills: rode a bike without training wheels just before turning 4, can shoot a bow and arrow with great aim, climbs trees, cuts down saplings with a hack saw, can hoe the garden and sticks to long jobs like shoveling manure onto a trailer. He loves to draw and does so every day. He makes up songs, gives great hugs and has the best smile ever.
So, again, I remind myself that children mature at different stages and I focus on the positives and try to make extra time to work on those areas that need work. I know that God made this special boy and He is shaping him into the man that He intends him to be. My job is to work diligently with him, to encourage him to work hard without overworking him and to teach him to love learning. It's the work that God has given me and I am thrilled to be this guy's mom!