Last night I was talking with my youngest daughter, Beckie. Of her subjects, math is particularly challenging for her, so we have decided that I will work with her every night, so I can maybe catch concepts that are more difficult for her more quickly. Previously, we allowed her the leeway to work independently, and sometimes she would struggle through for weeks before I would work with her.
Anyway, I was stressing to Beckie that this is a transition year, and the schoolwork was going to be more difficult and would require her full attention. If she couldn’t keep up we would have to look into making different arrangements, maybe trying a private school, etc. I thought that I was keeping my voice level and calm. I finished what I was saying and Beckie wandered away.
A few hours later, she stuck her head in my office, and asked if I was in a good mood. I thought that was an odd question, but I said yes, and invited her in. Then she said “If your not in a good mood I can come back later to work on my math with you…” and then I realized that she heard our earlier conversation much differently that I had intended. She thought that I was upset and yelling at her, but I was just trying to explain to her that the expectations were going to be higher as she enters her second year in the high school period.
Math may be hard, but effective communication is much harder!