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Think on These Things #8

on June 19, 2012

N has a two-part spelling test this Wednesday and Thursday. We have been practicing the 120-word list since June 6th. Yesterday, N brought home his spelling scribbler from school and as I flipped through the pages while we got ready to review another 60 words (I am a slave driver, I know!) I was amazed to see that N has been getting at least 80% on all of his weekly tests since October. More often than not, he gets 100%. And the times he got one or two wrong, it’s only because he mixed up a “b” and a “d” or he reversed two letters (like “re” instead of “er” in the word over).

I am constantly in awe of my nephews – the fact that they perform as well as they do despite the fact that they only do homework a few days a week. I know they are both wired for positive reinforcement (aren’t we all?) and when I told N that I was very proud of his achievements and that seeing that he had gotten such good marks all year, I said, I expected him to do just as well on his spelling tests this week. He, of course, negotiated how many wrong would be okay by me. I told him I expected him to do really well and that if he got a few of the tougher words wrong then it would be okay but that we were going to focus on those words until Wednesday so that he could have a very good chance of getting them correct on the test.
I am learning over and over again that N performs exactly as those around him expect him to and that his sense of his own abilities is completely aligned with the cues he gets from the adult role models in his life. So after I told him I expected him to do well on last night’s 60 words, he got more than 40 of them right – even ones that he found tricky (his word) last week. And of the 15 or so that he found challenging, they were words like “would” and “which” and we practiced spelling them out loud a few times and I think he’ll remember them when we review them tonight.
It is scary to realize how much influence I have over my nephews and to know how big a role I am playing in shaping them into the men they will become. I have said before that I have incredibly high expectations for both E&N and those two kids not only live up to those expectations, they frequently exceed them. I really hope and pray that most of what I am doing is going to help make E&N strong, independent, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and successful men. And I am really looking forward to a summer that tips the scale towards a bit more fun (although we will still be doing some math, spelling, and reading throughout the summer). C & I are kicking off their summer (and rewarding them for another great school year) with a camping trip. We’re all pretty excited. 🙂


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