February 4, 2019
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms .”
Zen Shin
Dear Parents and Friends of St. Michael’s School,

While the abundance of rain we have experienced in the past month has interrupted our Pee Wee soccer season, the water is certainly needed to alleviate our drought conditions, and the moisture will greatly impact the beauty of spring blooms. I am looking forward to visiting Borrego Springs and The Flower Fields in Carlsbad (pictured above) next month to see Mother Nature in her greatest glory.

Recently, I wrote about appreciating and understanding the gifts and talents we have been given and using those gifts for the benefit of others and ourselves. Oftentimes, however, we are more in tune to the gifts and talents of others as we compare our own progress and status to those around us. As adults, we tend to equate success with wealth (cars, houses, jewelry, vacations), and power (jobs/positions). We also often (incorrectly) link our own success to the accomplishments of our children (grades, where they go to college, etc.). The problem, though, is that by focusing on the accomplishments of others, we are dismissing our own achievements – rather than working toward becoming BETTER, we become BITTER.

This pattern of thought becomes especially problematic when we pass these ideas on to our children, which can result in undue stress and anxiety. Just as children learn to walk and talk at different times, so, too, do they develop skills in learning. We should never equate speed in learning with long-term success, and setting artificial timelines can lead to frustration and disappointment down the road. Of course, we have benchmarks for success in learning: we know that children need to recognize letters and sounds before they can read, and they need to acquire good number sense before they can perform more complex math problems. We use these benchmarks to identify areas for growth and to set goals for student learning. Unfortunately, too often parents worry that if their child is not at a certain level by a certain time, they will NEVER be successful. Case in point – if your child is not quite ready to be placed in the Accelerated Math class in fifth grade, that does not mean she won’t be able to major in engineering in college (and of course the inverse is true as well – early success does not always lead to success later on). Instead, focus on growth, no matter how small. There are many paths to success, and not everyone needs to take the same path, at the same time, or in the same way. Think about being a flower, be the best flower you can be, and just bloom.
In Mission,