One of my children is a bit of a perfectionist. He likes to do things right the first time. But who doesn’t? Wouldn’t life be so much easier if things just came naturally? I mean, he’s got a point.
This is the same child that’s competing in the Math Olympiad. For the other kids in the group (there are 5 boys in total), the complex Algebraic multi-step equations seem to come easily. Or at least that’s how it seems.
So when my child comes home from practice meetings frustrated because he didn’t get all questions right, it breaks my heart.
We had a talk about his frustration this morning, because I could tell it was going to impact his day at school. I wanted him to get it off his chest.
The Math Olympiad is a VOLUNTARY competition. It isn’t for a grade, it isn’t life or death, unless you’re 10 years old and the kids around you make it FEEL like it is.
I pointed out to my son, that in the grand scheme of his future scholastic achievement, it really doesn’t matter how he does. For a moment, before his anxiety took hold again, I saw his face relax. It never occurred to him that this wasn’t a make or break situation.
He’s a really smart kid. He loves to learn, he excels in school, and I don’t want this competition to break his spirit.
These same kids that are in the competition with him are already talking about what college they’re going to, which has, in turn, gotten my son to think about it too. I love that! They are all talking about going to MIT together…they’re in 4th grade! I don’t even think I knew the names of any colleges when I was in 4th grade.
It’s a big lesson for a little person to learn. I really want to instill all those sayings that we hear over and over in our lives because THEY’RE TRUE: it isn’t whether you win or lose, it really is HOW you play the game, TRY YOUR BEST, and FINISH WHAT YOU START.
It’s about the journey, not about the destination.
I know it sounds hokey, but he’s ALREADY WON for even trying something that is out of his comfort zone.
Please feel free to leave any words of encouragement for him. I know he’d appreciate them.