Weekly Virtue: Review Sincerity, Prepare for Justice

This week was Sincerity.

Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

It’s interesting how that ties into my latest mis-step.

Sometimes being sincere hurts others.

I recently realized (and may have realized before, and will probably forget — it’s something that my brain keeps rejecting) that things I’ve been doing to help individual kids in my daughter’s group might be hurting more than helping.

I mark the homework. I’m one of the markers who show up every week. Most kids, things go smoothly. Many times, a few words to the parents clears small problems before they become big. Sometimes, though, involving the parents actually hurts the child, and that’s where my brain glitches. How can involving parents hurt the child?

The parents panic, or think that their child’s position in the group is at risk, or the homework is too much work and the group isn’t worth it, or that they’re terrible parents because they can’t get their preteen girls to focus and learn. (Cue laugh and sympathy for those who think that’s possible.) Some parents expect their kids to pick things up faster than the kids can. Many parents don’t know the subject themselves, so they’re not comfortable, and often try to rush through their own learning.

They are thinking innocently and justly and trying to do what’s best for their kids. I’m doing the same.

The kids who struggle with this homework are probably struggling at school, so really need a place where they can achieve without school-type work. This group can be that.

In the big picture, there’s a lot more to the group than the homework. The homework supports the end product, not the other way around, and the end product is incredible. But my job is the homework, and due to confidentiality, that’s often all I see. Even that’s spotty. Some kids don’t hand in their book every week, and we can’t always divide it so the same marker sees the same book each week, so it’s hard to see patterns. We can pull kids out for a quick private lesson, but that takes time from more important work. Also, some parts have to be done with a CD player.

So in all sincerity I thought I was helping. That sincerity caused me to put a ton of energy into actions that may have hurt.

We’re slowly working on a better system, one that will help us identify the kids who need a different type of help or different standard earlier, and to help them.

Next week is justice.

Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Well, in the previous project, I can stop writing notes for the parents. Except often that works quite well.

Not sure what he means by omitting the benefits that are your duty. Is it benefits that are due to me? I should take what I’m owed? Easy enough. I’m satisfied that I’m getting the recognition and payment I’m owed (except from my kids, but I hear that’s normal). I always do my duties to the best of my ability, so no problem there.

I wonder what thoughts the virtue will trigger over the next week.

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