10 reasons you are enough, kid

I volunteered recently as a registrar/tabulator at an event designed to help children ages 8 to 10 demonstrate their proficiency in making consumer choices. The kids each had to listen to a scenario for eight minutes (with the help of supplementary material they had been sent in advance), then rank the products based on which one was the best choice given factors including quality and price.

I had registered the kids (teams of four), then as they completed sections of the activity, I added their scores to the scoresheet.

One contestant didn’t mark his answer on the score card that was turned in, even though he had kept note of it on his own documentation, as all the contestants had. That meant an automatic zero for one of four products.

As a side note, I see kids at things like this who I’m pretty sure are on a relatively straightforward trajectory to success. They obey the rules. They are well-spoken. They have listening skills that are developmentally appropriate. They are motivated by the idea of winning a trophy or ribbon, and also by the idea of either leading or contributing to a team.

Back to my “no-answer” contestant. Although I had been instructed by the contest moderator to give him a zero, his group leader had brought him forward and asked to let him record his score (which we did).

What followed was an exchange between him and his group leader that was tough to watch. It would be silly based on five minutes of interacting with a child and watching his interactions with another adult to put him in a box.

However, holding a degree in child development (yes, I’m now an editor so make of that what you will) and having raised two children, one of whom was (understatement) not a “jump through the hoops” kind of youngster, my heart hurt for him.

I don’t want to get into a verbatim replay of the dialogue, but “you’re in trouble” came up and “you shouldn’t have said no.”

Although this little boy’s future is unknown, here are 10 things I wish I could have conveyed to him that day:

You are valued

Your brain may not work the same as other kids, but that doesn’t mean it works in a bad way

Saying “no” is not always the right choice, but there are times in your life when it absolutely will be

Being “in trouble” is about the behavior you chose, not about who you are

I want to know what you thought about the product and which one you thought was best

I’d like to know about your life — what is your favorite thing to do?

I’d like to give you a hug (with consent of course)

I wish you were enjoying yourself

You’re not a loser (in fact, his team did place despite his issues — I’ll spare you the explanation)

You are enough

You are enough” gets said a lot lately. It makes for a good social media shareable image (and hey! there’s a new one for you at the end of this post!). It’s for a good reason, because so many of us struggle (whether we are children or adults) with appreciating our own strengths rather than beating ourselves up for our shortcomings, the real ones and the ones that are probably not as monumental as we let them become in our minds.

Some of these monumental, imagined shortcomings took root before we turned 11.

10 reasons you are enough, kid

I’m linking this post up two places:

Five Minute Friday, which had “unknown” as its prompt this week (and it took me far longer than five minutes to write this, for what it’s worth)

10 reasons you are enough, kid

Kat Bouska’s blog, for the prompt, “Write a post in just 10 lines.” I kind of fudged those directions to, but it’s OK, because I know I am enough (wink).

10 reasons you are enough, kid

12 thoughts on “10 reasons you are enough, kid

  1. I think, Paula, that it’s sometimes all about “Look at ME!”

    Yeah, they said I was enough,
    but I did not agree,
    and I felt that being tough
    was chaos’ victory
    I leapt from the gymnasium aerie
    to its hardwood floor,
    and so the Head would know me clearly
    I welded shut his door.
    I fought all comers with delight
    and wrecked cars with aplomb,
    and yes (you knew I might!)
    built myself a bomb.
    It was not a life the sane might choose
    but I achieved my goal, and made the news.

    • Great thoughts, Andrew (and I miss you — my fault for being somewhat absent). I know I saw this through a certain angle, and I know working with kids has its challenges (I mean, I KNOW … and I’m not some kid whisperer at all (I went from “child development degree” to “editor after all!) … but I think (and have kind of figured out because I dig for this type of info) he may be on the spectrum … which makes it even more challenging to have a place where a kid fits at a thing like this. I love your verse, as always. <3

    • Thanks, Haralee. If anything I said was wise, it was because I have been similarly impatient in the past and have hopefully learned some lessons. I am also not so sure the adult speaking to him was not his parent, which makes the dynamics even more complicated. We’re all doing the best we can; I just write what I see/perceive.

  2. I hope that little boy has someone in his life who will convey to him the sentiments you’ve expressed, and who will encourage and support him. You’re right; we’re all doing the best we can. I am trying so hard to be more mindful of people who might not think/act/react the same way I do, and to not be so hard on myself when *I* don’t think/act/react the same way others do.

    Just here via Mama Kat’s.


  3. This is so sweet. I love that you look beyond the kids actions rather than jump to conclusions. My hope is that my own kids have more adults in their lives who do exactly that!

    • That’s what I needed and wanted in my kids’ lives too, for sure. As noted in the comments above, I *haven’t* been that adult in a few kids’ lives. I guess we learn as we go. But that kid has stayed on my mind for sure.

  4. That scenario would have hurt my heart, too. It did! I have a son who struggled in the traditional classroom settings/parameters and I went through more than one of these situations with him. That “you are okay just as you are” means everything.

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