This is Mushroom. In the picture, he just drew the United States free form using a graph. I think it looks completely amazing.
But Mushroom doesn’t think so. Can you see that tear on his face? He thinks this was the most horrible, difficult, mean assignment ever. More than that, he thinks he’s a failure and that his map sucks.
How do you convince a kid otherwise? I knew it was a challenge, but he did it himself without me doing much more than showing him how and guiding him through the process. But he couldn’t listen to the least suggestion without bursting into tears. This was on the heels of the soccer game the day before when I finally called him over to the sidelines after he spent the whole game talking to other kids and looking at everything but the ball. “Just pay attention,” I told him. “Don’t talk to your friends. If you watch the ball, you’ll do a great job, but you can’t if you’re not looking.” Two minutes later, he stalked off the field in tears. You’d have thought I told him, “You’re a horrible soccer player and you’ll never be any good!”
I struggle with this so often. My sweet, sensitive boys. I try so hard to be gentle when I tell them 11 – 4 isn’t 6. Usually it’s fine. But sometimes it’s simply not. And suddenly it’s not just one math problem or half a soccer game or one small map assignment, it’s his ability to ever do math, play any sport or draw anything ever. I tell them to take a break or even stop the assignment, but they usually won’t stop until they’ve finished.
I told him I wanted to take his picture to show off what a great job he did. So I am. Even though I kind of want to cry just looking at him there.