Me: (standing in our front doorway waiting for the elevator to arrive)
Hank: (exiting, home from school) MOM!
Me: Hey! How was your day, Hank?
Hank: I got a 76 on my math exam.
Me: YO! That is 30 points higher than your last math exam.
Hank: I KNOW! I got a Bom (B).
Me: Parabéns! (Congradulations!)
Hank: Yah, I couldn’t believe it. I was convinced I did so bad.
Me: That is your lying, irrational brain messing with you.
Hank: My teacher was like, “What do you think your grade is? Guess!” And I couldn’t guess. I couldn’t say anything and I was just so shocked.
Me: She’s proud of you.
Hank: Ever since talking to my math teacher about how I want to do better and all the work I have been doing I have so many more idea on what to practice and study.
Me: You are making such good choices. I am really proud of you.
Hank: If I work at it ever day it is much easier than, like, all together all at once.
Me: Good point! 30 minutes here; 20 minutes there. It all adds up.
Hank: Exactly. I was thinking, if Euclides (16 year old family friend) could move to Ireland and go to school in English, which would be the same as if I went to America and went to school. I mean, I can speak English and read it but writing and math… I don’t know that stuff, you know? All of that is in my brain in Portuguese. Anyway, I was thinking if Euclides could just change in school and go from his Portuguese grades of suficiente (low C’s) to muito bom (A’s) like to the point where we were all like, “WOW, what happened? Did you open your brain and get a new one!” I was thinking, like, I’m going to try and do better too. I’m going to see if I can do that.
Me: I am so proud of him! Euclides made the decision to do better. We all knew he had it in him, but he had to make the choice to apply himself.
Hank: I miss them all so much. I am happy for them, but I miss them at the same time.
Me: Me, too. I am so glad Euclides inspired you! Friends are the best.
Hank: (sigh) I get it now. This feeling. I feel proud, but it isn’t easy and it feels impossible when I think about working like this for like years and years.
Me: Feels like forever.
Me: It gets easier! Take studying one day at a time. Keep up this habit of study and you will get used to doing your best and therefore won’t settle for less. You deserve your best and as long as you do your best your best is enough. Regardless of grades or rewards personal satisfaction is the best gift you can give yourself.
Hank: Right?! I get it now. (sigh) Anyway. I’m going to take 30 minutes to myself and then get my homework done then read my book for 30 minutes. Does that sound good?
Me: (proud) Sounds like a plan.