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Good job!!!

19 Jul

Good-job

I’ve been studying this summer, very intensely, which is why I haven’t been writing lately. All in all, I can say that things are going rather well.

I ended it with B, the sensitive yet macho Argentinian broker I’d been seeing for the past three months. It just didn’t seem like it could go anywhere, and as much as I liked the notion of living for now (and as much as the sex was spectacular), it’s just not me to invest emotionally in something that I know in my heart has no future. I feel good about ending it. I mean, it sucked breaking up with him. And I was a terrible coward and did it in a very long WhatsApp conversation. But it was a good thing ending it. And he actually seemed to take it relatively well. I had been sending signals. He’s a smart sensitive guy, he saw it coming.

The main thing that was difficult about this breakup, was the fact that he really cared about me. He thought I was beautiful and smart and fun and a good mom. I got loads of affirmation from him on a daily basis. And I realized suddenly how difficult it was for me to give this up. It’s the best thing in the world to feel loved, isn’t it? But there was more to it.

In the teacher-training program I’ve been taking this summer, we’ve been talking about positive reinforcement. Everyone’s always talking about the importance of giving children constant positive feedback. In my 6 years of teaching, this is something I’ve always made a point of doing, and have been very good at. I give a lot of positive reinforcement to my students, as much of it as possible, and never empty compliments – but rather actual concrete feedback about things they’ve done.

Well, I’ve been reading my Maria Montessori, and apparently, according to her, us adults basically just have to shut up. Let the children do whatever it is they feel compelled to do, to follow their instincts, their “inner guide” that will lead them to meaningful learning, without needing to be taught, without needing us to tell them how well they’re doing. If we constantly give them feedback for their work, how will they ever learn to give feedback to themselves? Huh. Good point.

Most of my life I was utterly unable of giving any feedback to myself. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was horrible to myself. I was always criticizing and scolding myself for not being thin enough, pretty enough, quick enough, knowledgeable enough, fun enough and so on and so forth… It took a baby and a painful breakup to get me to finally acknowledge my own strength. To finally be able to tell myself: Good job!

I still don’t do it often enough. It’s still super difficult. And I yearn, constantly for the approval of others. But I’m learning. And maybe I’ll try to hold back a bit on the positive reinforcement with my students this year. And maybe next time my son builds a spectacular Lego tower and admires it in awe, I’ll just smile, and let him clap for himself and tell himself, with his limited vocabulary, how awesome he is.

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