Anna came home from school on Friday all excited - she had been selected by her class to receive the "Bon de vertu," to be awarded Monday (i.e. TODAY!) morning. At École Alliance, they select a character trait that they choose to work on as a school - and focus on that trait for the next week... or sometimes two or three weeks. Most recently, their "vertu" has been assiduity (I personally thought it was a pretty good vocabulary word, too. How many people can recall the definition of assiduity to mind readily?) They take the character trait, define it and then discuss concrete examples of how they can demonstrate that particular trait in a classroom setting and then also elsewhere: the playground, in the car on the way to school, at home working on homework, at home helping their parents, out playing with friends, in the market...
So what have our children learned about "assiduity" the past couple of weeks? Well, here are some synonyms: application, attentiveness, constancy, diligence, indefatigability, industriousness, perseverance, persistence, steadiness, studiousness, tirelessness... They've learned that it is sticking with your job (whatever it is), until it is completed and done well. They've also learned that it is devoted attention and loyalty to your family and friends, even when it is hard and might cost you something. What valuable truths for them to learn, especially when at home, we add the Biblical authority in teaching truths such as:
- Col 3:23-24 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
- Prov 17:17 "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
- Prov 18:24 "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
And frankly, of all of our children, I can't think of a kid who deserves this award more so than Anna. Our other school age children (Brendan, Rebekah, Nadia and Victoria) have all been blessed with the ability to learn easily, quickly, and for the most part, without significant effort. For Anna, math comes that way - but reading and especially the mechanics of writing, are both challenging. The reading skills are progressing with maturity (she is understanding grade level reading in two languages) - but the writing seems to be a continual battle - neatness, legibility and speed... even remembering the mechanics of how to form certain letters. And this is a skill that is often taken for granted in academic settings - particularly in the French system which requires much copying, note taking (even at the 1st and 2nd grade levels), memorization and dictation work. Even in her best/easiest subjects - math and english - she has to contend in this writing battle. While most of our children spend a maximum of one hour on homework a night - it is not unusual for Anna to keep pluggin' away... for 2 or 2.5 hours... and for the most part, without too much complaining or whining about it. She's such a relational person, she loves the one on one time with whoever (Mom, Dad, brother, sister, friend...) is helping/supervising her work.
Apparently her teacher and classmates have noticed this same diligence and attention to her work, as well as her attention and devotion to her friends, because she was their choice to win the award this week. And I just received the telephone report from her daddy - who went to the ceremony to see her receive her award... she was grinning "like a Cheshire cat!" Even that, in and of itself, is a huge step. Last year when she was selected to receive an award, she was so nervous about standing up in front of the whole school that she was on the verge of tears the whole time. I think Anna recognizes what an accomplishment this is for her, that she is pleased to see her progress and I'm praying that all of this will encourage her to continue to progress in her academic abilities, with assiduity.