Greater than anything I could achieve as a writer, my daughter scored 7 out of 10 ‘red words’ correctly on her kindergarten test.
At, my, are, with, me, come, what, you, my, can. Those words are just some of the ‘red words’ she has been learning; the building blocks of language. The keys to reading. Since entering kindergarten this year, the going has been tough. She’s struggled; she’s despaired. But day after day, she has gone to school with a bright smile and an unspoken grace. Day after day, she has sat to do homework, to grind through the task at hand. Yet no matter the difficulty, she has done so with a willingness and determination that few adults exhibit.
As her teacher quizzed the class on the list of ‘red words,’ my daughter listened to the word as it was spoken and then wrote it down, letter by letter; not once but twice. This from a little girl who has gone through extensive occupational, speech and physical therapies. This from a little girl who has gone through it all with that same bright smile and unparalleled grace. This from a little girl who has made slow but steady progress every day.
She worked hard preparing for the test. “Try your best, and don’t worry about getting the answers wrong,” I told her. Which is difficult to explain to a child when the world around us demands that we constantly achieve.
The afternoon of her test, her teacher gave me a thumbs-up when I picked her up from school. “She did great!” she told me, but I barely heard her – the smile lighting my daughter’s face said it all. Once home, she hurriedly took the test from her backpack. She glowed as she pointed to the glittering star sticker atop it. “I did it!”
Yes you did, my little girl.
Anything in this world is attainable, no matter how big or small. And you don’t need to get everything right; you just need to give it your best.