“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.”Pablo Casals
It is hard not to compare one child to another. We want to be sure that our children are reaching developmental milestones at the right time, that they weigh an average weight, that they behave or perform as well as the other children in playgroup or music class. I think it is all part and parcel of wanting the best for our children..and perhaps a little of wanting our child to simply be “the best”. It is only natural. How does that make our children feel about themselves though?
No two children are the same. They have perceptual differences shaped by past experience. They have varied learning styles; some learn by watching, some by listening, some by doing. They have differing likes and dislikes, varied physical abilities and, most exciting of all, widely contrasting personalities.
In one music class I may have a shy and quiet student unlikely to utter a word, a social butterfly who has a million things to tell me each week (mostly unrelated to music class), a perfectionist who cannot handle making any slip ups, a happy-go -lucky type who brushes over each task without a care of the outcome, a child who cannot sit still for 5 minutes in a row but can answer every question I ask, and a child who tries very hard but seems to have difficulty no matter what. What I see in these children, regardless of their tendencies, is the potential to be GREAT! I see wonderful gifts in every child that comes through my studio. More importantly, I see growth in each child over the course of a year and no two grow in exactly the same way.
In order to appreciate the progress your child is making, take a moment to consider where your child was in terms of ability six months ago. Perhaps he had difficulty remembering bass clef notes but now can name 3 or 4 consistantly. That is progress!! Perhaps your child has memorized and performed a piece for the first time. That is growth! Perhaps your child has always been shy in class but has now developed the confidence to raise her hand to answer a question. This is development! Celebrate personal accomplishments with your child. To him or her they are important stepping stones toward success.
If you feel your child is not making personal progress (regardless of how he or she is doing compared to classmates) it is time to talk to your child’s teacher. It is probable that he/she has already noticed a lull in progress and is keeping a close eye on your child’s development. A phone call or email can go a long way to ensure your child is moving in the right direction.
Every child is a unique and beautiful masterpiece being sculpted by life experience and the attitudes of those around them. Children are empowered when encouraged and celebrated for their progress. Celebrate the greatness of the miracle that is your child.