My favorite Memory Master story, hands down, is Richard’s story. His mom gave me permission to share it, and I hope it lights up your day like it does mine – every time I think about it!
You see, Richard is dyslexic, so he struggles to read. He is quiet and seems extremely shy. Memory Master (MM) almost didn’t happen for Richard because his mother didn’t think he could do it. After sharing about MM with her husband, he provided wise advice, “You should at least tell him about it.”
Now, there isn’t anything wrong with Richard’s mother’s thought process. I would have done the exact same thing. In an effort to protect our children, we often don’t share with them about opportunities we feel are beyond their reach. Whether it be academically, socially, or some other area, we already see how they struggle to achieve what is in front of them. Clearly, the last thing any of us want to do is dangle a high-level achievement in front of our child, and have them be crushed when it doesn’t work out.
But we also want them to reach for the stars!
Surprisingly, Richard said yes. His mom’s heart sank. What was she going to do when it didn’t work out?
Preparing for Memory Master, Richard and his mom worked together to learn everything for the year, and that’s a lot!
But Richard was struggling. It wasn’t working. His mom quit
Later that day, when she passed by his room, she eyed Richard working on his memory work. Here, her 9 year-old, who already struggled, was working on his own to achieve MM. No giving up. She had to jump back in the game with him. Obviously, he was going on with or without mom.
I’d like to say that this is the only time this happened, but it wasn’t. Richard’s mom quit several times over the months leading into MM, but Richard never wavered, and mom always came back to the table. In fact, when he saw her frustrations rising one day during practice, Richard looked at his mom and said, “Are you going to quit on me again?” That answer took care of itself.
Nor more quitting.
I was privileged to proof with Richard at a practice get together, where he was working to get comfortable being proofed by adults besides mom. He definitely struggled to get through the material, and even reversed or misspoke a few words. Because I knew him and that he struggled, I made sure I could track with Richard by speaking with his mother before hand. It just took longer for him to get the answers out, and with some students, that needs to be allowed. As they wrestle with the way their brain naturally processes information, they tire more easily, allowing things to spiral downhill quickly. Rest breaks may even be appropriate.
After our practice session was over, I shared with his mom any areas I thought might need to be addressed in order to make sure the meaning is there, but mostly I just gushed. By the time he made it around to director proof, Richard was faster and struggled much less with communicating the necessary information.
You may have heard that Memory Master is strict and tough, so don’t do it unless your child can do it on their own or can recite effortlessly. At this age (and much further down the line still), CC is all about getting in the trenches with our kids – leading them, walking beside them, and then backing them up. And some students need that more than others. They posses the skill way down deep inside, but a mom can bring it out with patience and encouragement. Besides, CC Memory Master is anything but effortless, regardless of who you are.
Richard’s attempt at MM took significant amounts of time from his mom, but it also took the same time from Richard, and he gave it willingly. Needing his mom to believe in him and support him through the process, Richard never could have accomplished MM without his mother – as most MM students wouldn’t.
Despite her attempts to quit, Richard’s mother saw him through to the end.
And Richard achieved his goal of Memory Master!
Don’t sell your student short. Even if it doesn’t work out for Memory Master, did they work hard? Did they learn more than they otherwise would have?
And even if your child does not achieve MM, you can create your own program within your family and celebrate successes! And that’s for another post.
Is Memory Master for everyone? No. It’s not.
But I have a feeling it is for more people than we think it is!