As a 4th grade teacher, I break down the school year like this. The summer blends into the fall, which is like a preseason of sorts. If all goes well, you feel pretty good once you reach Thanksgiving break. The real season begins in December when students are who they are and the honeymoon is over.

This leads to the New Year, which continues to my regular season of optimism and expectations. It’s my way of keeping my eyes on the calendar and recognizing that time is short and I need to reach benchmarks for that I have for each student and evaluate those goals once i hit each vacation.

I have the same philosophy with my own kids. I take inventory of what they do well, what they are struggling with, and how my wife and I can support them. It’s almost like a mini offseason.

My older children are fairly simple to keep up with right now. With Evelyn, she’s a 6th grader. We monitor her progress through what we see, what she shares, what we know, and what she asks for help with.

With Cobe, he’s a 3rd grade student, who thus far doesn’t have a lot of difficulty other than staying motivated to do his best. However, things come easy to him and has the ability to rise to the challenge when pushed. Like Evelyn, he loves to learn.

Then there is Sawyer. He comes home with notes in his binder each day. It can range from reports, snacks that he ate, things that he tried at recess, to work that he has completed.

Out of the three kids, I feel like I look at what Sawyer does with HD/3D/4K glasses whereas the others I view with binoculars. It really does feel like that much of a discrepancy.

Now, I’m for one that believes that you can love each one of your kids differently. However, when I get to a vacation like this one in February, I become almost in shock on how I’ve distributed my time with my own kids.

As present as I feel that I attempt to be as their dad, I do realize the importance of spending time with each of my kids individually and collectively.

So for the excitement I reached when Sawyer laughed at the appropriate time at a scene in the movie theatre. I was able to match that excitement when Cobe made an over the shoulder catch while we were outside tossing the football around. It was also important to stop what I was doing when Evelyn came home to share news about her gymnastics practice.

Though I’m happy to have made it to another vacation, I’m even happier to recognize areas that I need to fine tune.

Let’s face it, I’m human. I’m fatally flawed as I believe we all are. However, like Sawyer’s binder of progress, I’m making mine too.

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