When I picked Kate up from school yesterday the kids were making big posters about hope and change and the like. Her teacher informed me that if Kate could still tell her tomorrow "I can achieve anything" she'd get a treat at the end of the day.
I dutifully worked with both Kate and Sarah to memorize this aphorism, as I'm hoping they will still assert it not just today but every day as long as they draw breath. Sarah says it beautifully but has no idea what she's saying and so must be coached each time. Kate can usually remember but is sometimes hesitant.
This morning I was asking her to tell her daddy what she was going to say when she got to school. She just sort of looked at me...I asked her if she knew what "achieve" meant. She was silent. So I started giving some examples. "To achieve something is to reach a goal. Like your goal to learn to write your name. Now you can write your name, that's an achievement, you achieved your goal." She really seemed to be paying attention so I threw out a few more to drive home the point. I finished with "you should know, that whatever your goal is, you can achieve it, even if it takes a long time and lots of hard work." I'd run out of examples so I asked "what do you think you'd like to achieve?"
"I would like to achieve, " Kate said evenly, quickly, "an Ariel Barbie with the necklace and the fishy bottom and the bra. I want you to achieve that for me." I considered trying to explain it again but opted to go with "maybe Santa will achieve that for you."
Even after our little chat, Kate seemed unable to repeat the statement for her daddy. As I was about to head out the door to work, holding the big bag of chocolate chip cookies we'd made together because I was bringing it to my coworkers, I asked her to try again. Nothing. I said "if you girls can both tell Daddy what we talked about this morning, you can each have one of these cookies." They both fired off "I CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING!" with laser accuracy.
This afternoon when I picked the girls up I asked Kate, in front of her teacher, if she'd remembered the phrase. She nodded her head. I asked if she remembered what "achieve" means. She said "I achieved a treat!"