“I moved to 3.”

This afternoon, as the children ate their afternoon snacks and went on to play, I read two articles, so that you don’t have to. (No, I’m kidding, you should read both of these articles. But read this post, too.)

The first: “Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.” The article is remarkable for several reasons, but this quote struck me:

…Romney takes such a curiously unapologetic approach to his own flip-flopping. His infamous changes of stance are not little wispy ideological alterations of a few degrees here or there – they are perfect and absolute mathematical reversals, as in “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country” and “I am firmly pro-life.” Yet unlike other politicians, who at least recognize that saying completely contradictory things presents a political problem, Romney seems genuinely puzzled by the public’s insistence that he be consistent. “I’m not going to apologize for having changed my mind,” he likes to say.

He believes his inconsistency, his wobbly moral compass which points not to what he believes but to what the voter in front of him believes, is everybody else’s problem. He’s entitled to that belief, I guess.

As for the second article: Look At Yourself Objectively. I liked this quote, which simply points out the value of humility and in turn, self-awareness:

We hate hearing bad news about ourselves so much that we’d rather change our behavior than just admit we screwed up.

Messing up and owning up… it’s the only way anything gets better. As I took the children home today from school, our daughter said, “I had a horrible day. A bee chased me. And… Mommy? I moved to 3.”

“Moving to 3” in the second grade’s behavior rubric indicates that the student “had a good day, but needed a little help from others to remember to listen, follow directions, and stay on task.”

Our daughter, since the first day of school last Monday, has never moved down from 4, which indicates that she had “an excellent day staying on task and remembered to listen and follow directions.”

Truth be told (and bragging be done), our daughter has never, ever, moved down from 4, through Kindergarten and First Grade (in those grades, 4 = Green).

She hates making mistakes, disappointing another, “screwing up.”

I asked her in the car, “Oh. That’s okay. Did you get a chance to move back up to 4?”

“Yes. A bunch of us moved down because we were distracted while we wrote our weekly words. But then by the time I was done I was back on 4.”

“So, you were on 3 for a few minutes.”

“Yes. I was really sad.”

I told her that she was a good girl, and that I was proud of her for telling me that she moved down, and even more proud that she moved right back up again.

“Now you understand even better how hard it is to always be good for your teacher, like you always are. You have a new teacher, and now you understand even better what she needs. This is a good thing.”

I didn’t ask her about her behavior today (I never do, I just check her classroom agenda as the teacher instructs).

She didn’t have to tell me what happened. She just owned up, because it troubled her, and she holds herself accountable.

She’s a role model.

What do you think?

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