This is a special message to parents from our Founder, Deanna Hurn. She understands that the struggles our children have are real and wants every parent to be equipped with the knowledge to help their kids achieve their full potential, by sharing a personal story of her own.
As our children return to the classroom, I want to share a personal story about a struggle I faced as a parent. You probably know me best by my titles: academic coaching expert, neuroscience-trained mathematician, dynamic entrepreneur.
Now add to the list “Frustrated Mom.”
At least that was me last year. Just like many of you, I had great hopes that my children would be rock stars in the classroom. In particular, I knew my daughter Ramiyah would blow the minds of her teachers in her middle school debut: She’d been coached by the specialists at Miracle Math, she’d attended a leadership camp at the University of California at Berkeley, she’d scored high on a recent IQ test, and (forgive the horn-tooting) she was my daughter. I’m the expert in this stuff, right?
[Cue the “Rocky” theme song……]
Yet, Ramiyah struggled. Despite the preparation and nurturing, her grades were poor and her confidence was even poorer. She couldn’t master the fundamentals of how to stay organized and apply all that she had learned while maturing socially, mentally and physically.
And because I’m her Mom, her struggles became my struggles. Here are five actions I took to help get her back on track:
- Acknowledged to myself that struggle is an opportunity. It doesn’t mean defeat. It’s a sign that something needs fixing, that there’s work to be done. If you’ve paid for academic coaching, summer camps or learning aids, realize that investments take time. Don’t throw in the towel now (actually, don’t ever throw in the towel).
- Offered reassurances. Her Dad and I knew not to add to my daughter’s disappointment by heaping on some of our own. Ramiyah needed us to build her up, not make her feel worse. I reminded her of her intrinsic worth, of how proud her Dad and I are of her, and how I knew she would get back on track.
- Got to the root of the problem. Ramiyah had the knowledge. She knew the material, but she needed to be more organized and less stressed. Because of my background, I have an experienced and researched understanding of the process it takes to get a child to her goal. (It’s one of the drivers behind Miracle Math’s success with helping students excel.) Once I knew the problem, I could work with her to find a solution.
- Enlisted her to help. We brainstormed solutions with Ramiyah. How could she manage her time better? What could help her on top of her homework? When she was falling behind in a class, what was her plan for getting help? We were helping her become a self-directed learner, a student who takes personal responsibility for doing well in school.
- Built a “Village of Support.” I’ve established a “village” of individuals who love, support and cheer my children on every day. This team helps ease the burden of a super Mom who has learned to ask for help. In an upcoming post, I’ll share who’s a part of our village, why and how to build your own.
The process worked for Ramiyah. She was a leader at the Stanford University leadership camp she attended this past summer and was chosen to speak at its closing ceremony. More important, she’s discussing with me techniques to ensure she’s organized and pays more attention in class this school year.
My children aren’t perfect. And I’ve learned to ease up on the pressure so they don’t feel as if they have to be. Yet, as a parent, I still struggle with the same fear, doubt and insecurities that many of you do.
But my “Village of Support” (stay tuned for more details on this in the coming weeks) helps me and my children do the best that we can. The struggle WAS real. But we were able to overcome it with patience, hard work and a little help from our friends.