Thursday, June 18, 2009

My baby's graduation

Elisheva Chaya was my baby for 9 years, until I remarried and Naomi Rivka came along.  When I thought she was my last child, I cried and cried at all her school events and milestones.
 
Not much to cry about last night; the event itself was actually incredibly dull.
 
But I was looking at the other girls, hearing their speeches, etc., (okay, those are the valedictorians and class representatives, so maybe not a fair sampling, but still) and thinking that she's probably the LEAST mature of her entire graduating class... which maybe makes sense because (born on December 31st) she's probably the youngest.
 
I'm kind of off-and-on reading an interesting book (YM keeps swiping it) called Outliers, which is about the surprising statistics of success. 
 
The author, Malcolm Gladwell, claims that the people who tend to succeed in athletics are the January to March babies... being so much older in the early grades (almost a year older than the December babies), they were bigger, stronger and physically more agile within their cohort, and were thus seen as "better" and having more "potential" and therefore selected for more advanced training and more focused energy on the part of teachers and coaches.
 
The effect is most obvious in pro hockey, where a highly disproportionate number of players are apparently born between January and March.  But it's apparently visible in certain other areas as well, and it's hard to say what kind of unconscious bias a teacher might have against a younger child who is physically smaller, less adept, and - at least in the early grades - less able to grasp concepts than her nearly-one-year-older peers.
 
This is striking to me as a December baby.  Could explain a lot.  :-)))
 
So I was sitting there last night thinking this over and kicking myself (but not hard!), for the millionth time ever, for not finding a way to hold Elisheva back a year.  She didn't need to start Grade One until she was 6, and I doubt it would have damaged her self-esteem to repeat SK... and it might have made a world of difference.  She wouldn't have been freakishly older than the other kids in the next grade. 
 
At the beginning of every school year, I have thought that, and not just in the general "my baby's growing up" kind of sadness way.  In the way that I know her well and she really REALLY isn't ready.  Every year.

1 comment:

  1. As the mother of a late december boy, I think I must read that book!! Thanks!

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