Thursday, September 03, 2015

Another Brick in the Wall

photo from stocksnap
First week of school.
Cute new outfits.
Smiling kids.
Eager anticipation of all the great things that will happen at school.
Joyful choosing of school supplies.
Prayers for another great year.

Yaaaaaaaaaaa, that’s not us...

We are the ones that start the pep talk beginning in late July.
We are the ones whose kid could care less about the school supply shopping. (I do it alone with just a couple suggestions – Lego’s or Star Wars)
We fight and there are tears over learning to tie shoes.  In my mind, it’s a necessary life skill.
We think of ways we can help get through just the first week.
We write incentives on the chore chart, because yes, we bribe our kid to do homework and have a good attitude when rolling out of bed and into the car.

I’ve sat on the couch weeping, knowing the struggles of another school year. Trying to shed myself of the guilt that comes from feeling like I’ve somehow let my child down.  I feel like I have failed him because he hates school.

How can he be the only one? How can we be the only ones that dread school?

I don’t think we really are.

So mom, the one who’s child just threw a huge fit in his kindergarten classroom. It’s ok.
Mom, the one who just lost it on the way to school. It’s ok.

Even when everyone else seems to eat rainbows for breakfast every school morning, it’s not true.
Even when you hear, “It gets better”, but it still hasn’t. You can still do this.
Even when you are not sure you are going to make it and you are trying to figure out what you might have done wrong. It’s probably nothing.

Whether it is homeschool, public, or private school – some kids just don’t like school.  Maybe they struggle socially or academically.  Maybe it just doesn’t fit their personality. Perhaps we should just face it, school is basically their job, and how many of us love our jobs every single day?  (Are those crickets chirping?)

For my child there are several reasons I can see, when I step out of my own head and quit blaming myself. He is very introverted (not shy, mind you – intoverted), so everyday with people, all day, is exhausting.He is like his father and I.  He doesn’t like being told what to do – which makes things hard when you are in 2nd grade. He hates repetition and timed testing – which are foundational teaching tools for math and reading skills.

I'm just here to remind you today: 
It might not get better – at least not for a few years.  But we can do hard things.
It’s usually not your fault. We are a relatively kind, loving, affirming family. 
It’s usually not the teacher’s fault. We KNOW they work their buns off for these kids and certainly aren't in it for the large salary. 

It just blows sometimes.

At one time or another, our children will probably struggle at something.  I’m learning during these early years that I need to continue to lay down my expectations, my worries, my fears. I’m learning that I need to give him room to struggle. I need to let my child fail. I need to recognize that he isn’t me.  I know that only through challenges do we develop character – so it is his turn to become more of the person God created him to be.

Do I secretly wish it were different ? Yes.
I do think it might be getting better for us (in 2nd grade). 

Is my child excited to go to school in the mornings? No. 
Is he learning to do it anyway, without a scene? Yes.

Do I need to continue to check my attitude and lighten up? Every. Single. Day.

Do I need to remember to set the tone? Yes. If I am stressed, frantic, and grouchy – what makes me think that will be a good start to the day for anyone?

Do I need to be consistent with the house rules that seem to be making things a little easier and not fizzle out after the 2nd week of school? Probably. Dang it.

So, mom of the child that hates school. You are not alone.

Let’s lift each other up and lift our children up. Let's not suffer in silence because we are embarrassed, afraid of what others might think, or overwhelmed with guilt. Who knows what the next 12 years of school will look like, but let’s pray wholeheartedly for this hard work of growing up and encouraging our children in whatever struggles might come their way. From mean girls to multiplication  - school really isn’t easy. Let’s stop pretending that it is. Press on in love and trust in the sufficient grace of God – for ourselves and our kids.  As cliché as it sounds, I’m learning it really is the only way to survive this parenting gig.

1 comment:

  1. Jes, I love your honesty about parenting. You shine a genuine dependence and faith in God! You invest in and love your kiddos, and that alone is glorifying to the One who trusted them to YOU! Hang in there, friend💕


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