Kiddo#1 came home quite excited: he’d won the school spelling bee.
He’s been working with a seventy-five page list of esoteric words for a while, on and off, glancing at them before going about his daily life. Every day last week, his class had a spelling bee practice, and on Wednesday, he won it. He did it again on Friday. He hadn’t even thought he’d go to the school bee. They had the schoolwide bee, and he was the top winner.
For the record I will state that he in no way inherited any spelling ability from me. I stank at spelling. It must be from his father.
At any rate, he told me all the details, which was his winning word (albatross) and that his teacher was stunned he missed “abacus” for the win. (I am too: the kid knows how to use an abacus and owns a book on the abacus.) He asked me why I hadn’t come to see him.
Me: You didn’t tell me I could come or when it was.
Him: It was at one-thirty.
Me: That doesn’t help me NOW, does it?
He goes to the city-wide spelling bee in a few weeks. He’s already planning for what will happen after that: “the state-wide, then the nationals, then the internationals, then the galactic, then the intergalactic…”
The school gave him a Scrabble game, a word jumble game, a certificate, and a ribbon. “I should have gotten a blue ribbon,” he told me, “but it’s green.”
He handed it over, and it says “Participant.” They also gave him a certificate. It says “This is to honor Kiddo#1 Philangelus for participating in the Schoolwide Spelling Bee.”
Gee, THANK YOU to the self-esteem movement. We can’t possibly allow anyone to feel bad, so the winner mustn’t appear any different than any other participant. Won’t that just motivate him to do his best? And I’m not just saying that: I’ve railed about the self-esteem movement before in both Mothering Magazine and The Wittenburg Door.
Now here’s something interesting: while he was telling me about one of the practice bees, he told me he’d gotten a word he couldn’t figure out how to spell.
“So then,” he said, “it was a miracle from my guardian angel: I pictured what the paper with that word on it looked like, and then I read the word off the paper in my head.”
Right. I have no idea what to make of that. He said it with a little awe but not realizing just how phenominal such a thing is. Just to be able to visually recreate a list of spelling words in his head and read the word off the page. Although to be fair, he said it only happened that one time. (But still!)
He’s delighted and I’m delighted for him. That’s very cool.