Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hang in There, Brayden

It's getting very close to a break from school and around here that is obvious based on the attitude of my son. Brayden does NOT love school. In fact, yesterday, he more or less cursed the person who ever invented the idea (it was a time of extreme frustration on his part- and no, he did not use curse words...) He is a very capable student (something I've addressed before), but does not enjoy exerting his focus to schoolwork and learning (unless it's done without him knowing it). He does, however, love the social aspect of school - combine that with the tension we both feel in homework together, makes homeschool out of the question in both of our minds. (I should never say "never" - at this point - it doesn't seem like a feasible option).

Brayden is attempting to culminate a 6+ week animal report/project. He chose the gray wolf, an animal he's fascinated with - and we had surprisingly smooth success with the fact gathering and even rough draft composing (done one paragraph at a time with mom - I'm hoping he's getting the idea of sentence structure now). However, the tears come flowing when the illustration aspect begins. Brayden is adamant that HE CAN'T DRAW. And, when a 9 (close enough) boy believes he CAN'T do something, it is very hard to convince them otherwise. Personally, I don't remember having to do nearly the amount of drawing and illustrations that Gilham has required over the years, I feel sorry for the kid. We literally scoured the internet for step by step drawing websites, I have bought him a couple of books - have drawn numerous samples for him to model after - but, oh, is it painful. Yesterday afternoon was full of so much tension, angst, and tears - and a bit of strong words - it was very, very disheartening. But, the project is 98% complete - outside of one more paragraph that's already been typed that needs to printed out at school and pasted in - and that is a miracle.

In general, the longer Brayden spends in an extended school stretch the more his stress and anxiety level increase. He is a kid who definitely needs his breaks. I feel like we are in the home stretch as spring break is a week and half a way - and then we leave for Hawaii a week after he's back - and then I think he can make it through June. He gets more and more caught up with how he fits in socially (he was even telling me where he thinks he fits in popularity-wise (a sports-ability basis) and it was fascinating to see who he believed he was "behind" - suffice it to say, I was okay with the number he gave, but alarmed that it was even a concern to him). He is also doing push-ups at night and other exercises so he can get a "six-pack" like his friend (who doesn't have a 6-pack, but whatever). I told him that genetics are against him - strong abdominal muscles are difficult to find in this family, but he'll probably be blessed for life with a relatively small bottom..... =)

With all that said, though - you can still see Brayden's fervent need for Mom and Dad and the security and love we provide. There's been a lot of requests for hugs and last week Brayden made it clear to me and Mikayla that he doesn't ever intend to move out. I suggested that might be a problem for his future wife, but he simply said he might just not get married, then. At this stage in the game, I'm so okay with that.

So, for now, we are all counting down the next 9 days until school is out for over a week. We can all sleep-in again, breathe again, and discover our "old Brayden re-emerging" all over again.


Anonymous said...

I'll be praying for Brayden. Little boys all seem to be so obsessed with drawing; Tyler's papers come home with giant monsters and screaming victims pouring around the margins; it's a lot of pressure if you feel like you're not as good as your friends. But what a blessing to learn at that age the diligence and empathy for others that come to those for whom not everything is a cakewalk.

I wish I'd had to face a few more struggles when I was little so I didn't grow up to be such a baby about doing things I'm not good at! By college I would withdraw immediately from courses that might damage my g.p.a. You're teaching Brayden to face his fears ~ the sacrifice will be worth it! Hang in there, Mom and Dad!

StephieAnne said...

You put such a nice spin on it, Heather. Thanks!

Colie said...

Just out of curiosity - does he have to draw? Can he do abstracts? Is there a guideline on this?

I hate to draw and I'm really not good at it. Heather did put a nice spin on it and we do need to learn how to get through the things that are not fun. But - it also seems like he could get around it a bit by being creative. What about cut and pasting or abstracts to show feelings and emotions behind the story.

Anyways - good luck and keep up the hard work Brayden!