My 4 year-old came home from school wearing the gold sash that her teacher awards each week to one of the children in her class. The award can be for any achievement or outstanding contribution so that each child might benefit from wearing the esteem-enhancing sash at least once during the school year. But my daughter has won the sash twice this year already so I made a big fuss of her when she bounded into my room to show it off.
“By the way”, I said after the ‘well-dones’ had done their stuff, “what did you get it for?”
“Literacy”, she said confidently and precisely.
“You’re a chip off the old block”, I told her, brimming with fatherly pride. She clambered up on my chair for a congratulatory hug. The sash momentarily seemed like an affirmation of my own meagre talent and it was the perfect salve for the anxiety I’d been feeling about a new project.
“..and for sitting on the mat good”, she then added for extra measure, having had time to consider the sum of her achievements.
“For sitting on the mat good, eh? That’s my girl.”