My daughter is what some would call sharp-witted. She has been described as precocious, sarcastic, witty, and funny by family members and friends alike. I say this not as a boast, but to set the stage for you so you’ll understand where I’m coming from. It can be a pleasure, a joy even, homeschooling a 5th grader with a penchant for sarcastic retorts. Well, it can be a joy on most days. However, there are other days – I must admit – where the last thing I want is an eye roll and a sharp comment, even if it’s said in good fun, which it always is.
I have had days where between the two year old, the four year old, and the seven year old (who is also homeschooled), that I come to my fifth grade daughter with anything BUT patience. And I sit down with her to work on her schoolwork, and she’s being sarcastic and trying my patience, without even meaning to, and I snap. I do. I tell her to get serious, get back to work, and then look up and see the hurt in her eyes.
At her age, in fifth grade, she has a knack for hurt feelings. It goes along with that age I suppose. And nothing derails a school day more than a little girl edging toward teenager with a heart full of hurt feelings. At this point, Teresa can’t concentrate on her language arts, her math, or anything else. These are the moments when I have to reassure her that I was being unfair, apologize, and then give us all a break. Take 15 minutes, step away from the schoolwork, and maybe even run around outside for a few minutes … because ultimately the problem wasn’t hers, it was mine.
She’s got a knack for the quick comeback, and I’m proud of that verbal ability of hers. And I need to remember to take 5 minutes every once in awhile, and restore some of my patience, because to do anything less than appreciate that quality in her is to do her a disservice.