Long Term Gains

by Mrs. Smith on January 1, 2018

The more I look back on my life, the more I see that some of my long-term wisest decisions were lowering the bar.

Like Mr G and reading.


That little selfie-taker up there sort of got interested in reading around age 5, emphasis on “sort of.” I more or less pulled him into it since he was official “kindergarten” age. He’s a good sport, so I pushed through his semi-interest and hoped it would ignite along the way.

We trudged all the way to lesson 50 of those 100 “Easy” Lessons and he was just done. It got to be torture every time we worked through a lesson. He could sort of do this reading thing, but again, emphasis on “sort of.” That reading book does its job, but at a pretty high cost when your kid isn’t into it.

I gave up. I couldn’t do it any more.

I didn’t just lower the bar, I dropped it completely.

Fast forward a year (or more?)

We picked up 100 Easy again a little while back with a sly little, “Hey, I bet this is going to be SO easy, it’s going to feel like baby stuff…” and –happy day!– it is!

He flies through those “mind numbingly tedious” lessons in 5 minutes now instead of the 30-ish it used to take. He feels like a boss. It’s super fun. He loves it, I love it, the world is a brighter, better place for it.


Was it worth “wasting” a year “doing nothing” in the learn-to-read department to get to this point?

Yes, yes it was!

The 12 yo gave me a pretty sweet compliment the other day as he watching me and G breeze through another lesson.

“Wow, Mom, you’re a much better teacher now than you used to be. It used to take so much longer, remember?”

Ha. Yes, I remember.

Very little to do with me. Everything to do with timing.

Turns out, dropping the bar completely ended up being a bit like high-vaulting for this kid, allowing him fly into reading later when he was good and ready. Most days it feels like this:

I’m looking forward to the next 70 Lessons actually being (more or less) Easy for the first time ever. How ’bout that?!

Dropping the bar is the best thing ever, and I’m making up for taking so long to figure it out by using all of 2018 to celebrate it.

In slow motion, in the day to day and hour by hour, it probably does look like pole vaulting in slo-mo.

Wobbly. Crazy. What the heck????

But then, just when you need it to, BAM. If you were headed in the right direction that whole time, it works. You can use that low bar (aka: pole) as leverage and the high bar gets cleared.

That’s the fun thing about life. You can live in slo-mo and look back at it later in high-speed. All those little things add up to something substantial eventually. Huzzah!

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