'In order for something to be worth it, it needs to be hard work'.
(And it needs to look like you worked the hardest).
This is a story that I used to tell myself.
And a story I've decided to let go of.
And that's been hard.
For so long I have told myself - and successfully witnessed - that success comes at the other side of hard work. That downtime can only be enjoyed once our work is complete and enjoyment is only earned through hard work.
Today I listened with a softening and breaking heart as my son didn't want to go to school because he didn't want to present a project because it didn't show enough 'hard work'. Because his printing is messy, because his thoughts don't come out in an organized fashion, because he did the bibliography entirely wrong, because every other students' project shows 'hard work' and when all the grade five projects are hung in a line, his will stand out.
And he's not wrong.
He's dyslexic and currently in a class predominantly filled with students who aren't.
But this conversation made me re-new my vow to let go of this concept of hard work or at least change the concept because of two things:
1. Sometimes hard work doesn't look like hard work. I would hazard to guess that the work for that project was harder for Sam than other students.
2. Imagine what the world would look like if we were all doing work that was enjoyable or joy creating.
Who is to value what was hard for him, versus what was hard for someone else and why do we value harder work over all other kinds of work?
Somehow it's easier for me to brainstorm solutions for him to build his self esteem and play to his strengths. Can he dress up and act out the project? Can he create a movie? Can he facilitate a group discussion around the bigger questions of the project? All different ways where his talents could shine and it wouldn't be so hard for his work to look good.
But today, I'm wondering about a different lesson, a different learning. Today I'm saying 'this is my hard work even though that might not be what it looks like to you and I'm going to be okay with that'. I'm stepping into the bravery that that requires - and that, for me, might be the hardest work of all.